BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A heartbreaking early morning fire in West Baltimore leaves one little boy dead and his brother badly injured.

Derek Valcourt has more on the three children who were trapped on the second floor of a burning rowhouse.

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The oldest child is being called a hero after he helped save his little sister and risked his own life to try to save his brother.

At the scene of the fire in the 300-block of North Bruce Street, neighbors are still stunned.

“The little boy gone. Yeah, he gone,” said Dwayne Harrison.

Harrison heard the screams for help just after 1:30 a.m. Monday. Three children–ages 8, 7 and 4–were trapped on the second floor of the burning home.

The staircase was engulfed in flames. Adults inside, including the children’s mother, had escaped but could not reach the kids.

“She said take the hose and wet her so she can go in there and save her babies. I told her you can’t go in there because the floors gonna collapse ’cause of the fire,” Harrison said.

Neighbors went around back and saw two of the children at the window.

Witnesses say the 8-year-old dropped his 4-year-old sister from a second floor window to some neighbors who were waiting to catch her below. The 8-year-old then went back inside to find his 7-year-old brother. Neither of them emerged.

Witnesses say about 20 minutes passed until firefighters using a ladder retrieved the bodies of the two boys.

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The 7-year-old, who has been identified as Sean McCullough,  had stopped breathing.

“When they brought them out the window you could see the burns on their bodies when the fire department brought them out the window up there. You could see that he was slumped over and he was just gone,” Harrison said.

“A few breaths of smoke can be extremely damaging to anybody,” said Ian Brennan, Baltimore Fire Department.

Family and neighbors mourn the 7-year-old and say his surviving 8-year-old brother acted heroically.

“He really was trying to save his brother,” Harrison said.

The 8-year-old boy is still being treated at Johns Hopkins Pediatric Hospital for his injuries. He remains in critical condition.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries.

This year, nine people have died from fires in Baltimore City.

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