WEST ALLIS (WITI) -- Neighbors say they are devastated by the tragic loss of three young children at a house fire in West Allis. They're familiar with the kids, describe the family as friendly, and can't imagine what the mother is going through now.
"I wish I would have been walking through the alley and seen it. I could have done something," said neighbor Bill Heron.
Heron cuts through the yard of the house that burned to go to work at a business nearby. He tells FOX6 News, he'd often chat with the new family who'd wave at neighbors they had yet to meet.
A young mother of four lived in the house -- there was an infant and the three older children. Police say two four-year-old twin boys and a five-year-old girl died in the fire. The mom and baby were not at home.
Heron says another worker talked to that young mother not long before the fire broke out.
"I guess one of the employees back there was on a smoke break and he talked to her about 5 o'clock and she was leaving out. Then I heard she left the kids with her sister. So I don't know. All I know is they're gone now and nobody was there to help them," said Heron.
The acting police chief in West Allis would not say more about the mother or why she's in police custody. The fact the kids were home alone is most likely the reason.
FOX6 News talked with family members of the children victims. Those relatives did not want to go on camera.