Two children and two women have died after a blaze tore through a home in Bexleyheath, south-east London.
Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters were rushed to the scene of the tragedy on Hamilton Road at around 8.30pm on Thursday.
Crews in breathing apparatus rescued two women and two children from the first floor using a nine metre ladder.
Sadly, all four died at the scene, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) said.
A man who escaped before firefighters arrived has been taken to hospital.
The victims identities have not been released.
Neighbour Scott James, whose home is a stone’s throw from the scene, said he believes the children involved include a toddler and a boy of about five or six.
He ran outside when he noticed the fire ‘quickly engulf’ the home, and saw a ‘distraught’ man collapsed against the wall outside.
‘The downstairs was on fire and then the whole house went up. It was engulfed in flames. There wasn’t an explosion,’ he said.
He said the firefighters ‘very quickly had ladders up to the windows’ as they tried to rescue those inside, with one woman being pulled out of a top window.
‘It all happened so quickly. I have never seen anything like it.’
The builder, 44, added that the family had only been in their recently renovated home for about five months.
He said: ‘I saw them yesterday and waved at them.’
‘I spoke to them just to say hello. It was just pleasantries. It is very sad to wake up this morning and hear they have perished.’
Neighbours have laid floral tributes at the scene, as police investigate the casue of the fire.
Ling Han, 36, said her family heard ‘sharp screaming’ coming from inside the house as the flames took hold.
She saw firefighters take two children out of the house and the emergency services trying to save their lives.
She added: ‘They tried really hard to do CPR. They never gave up. They tried to do CPR for the children.
‘I was shocked. My body was shocked. I had no idea how I could help them. We saw the firefighters try to rescue them. The ambulance and police came.
‘I saw a huge flame in the first floor. I am just so sad because we could see people in danger and could not do anything for them.’
Firefighters from Bexley, Erith, Plumstead, Lee Green and Sidcup stations were all called in to help tackle the blaze.
They arrived at the scene at 8.30pm and the incident was over by around 9.45pm.
Authorities don’t know how the fire started, and the cause is being investigated.
Images from the scene last night show the road closed off with police also in attendance.
London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said: ‘This is a truly terrible incident which is both sad and shocking.
‘Our thoughts are with the family, friends and local community at this difficult time.’