ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County firefighters and investigators spent hours Tuesday sifting through what's left of a Pine Hills apartment that was destroyed in a deadly fire.
The blaze started around 3 a.m. in an upstairs unit at the Misty Oaks apartment complex off of Spring West Road. Firefighters said the fire was intense and the flames moved quickly.
"Looking at the scene, it's completely burned away. All the way to the roof in that unit it's completely burned away," Paterson said.
Initially investigators thought two people had died in the fire. But more than eight hours after the fire, investigators made another grim discovery.
"There has been a third fatality, a third victim found inside the fire scene," said Lt. Paul Paterson with the state Fire Marshal's Office.
Officials said three people were killed in the fire and according to neighbors, it's a mother and her two children.
"It's scary. Very scary to wake up to that. And then to know that there are people in there," neighbor Melanie Smoll said.
A fourth person, who may have been in the unit but was found outside, was taken to the hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, according to officials.
"I don't know how much he's been able to tell investigators at this time. Hopefully he is cooperating so we can get to the bottom of this," Ginette Rodriguez with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said.
Family and friends of those who died openly grieved after learning what had happened.
A neighbor who lives directly under the unit that burned said she had a good relationship with the people who stayed there.
"They were a nice family to us -- nice family. They'd do anything for us, and we'd do anything for them, too. A nice family," said Shevalua Pryor.
Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire. They have not released the victims' names.