Two children died early Thursday morning in a house fire in Burke County, and eight other people were in the house at the time, but they were able to get out safely.
The sheriff said the fire did so much damage, it may be difficult to determine a cause.
There is little left of the home south of Morganton.
The bodies of the two children who died, an 11-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl, were found in two separate bedrooms on the main floor, according to fire officials.
Outside the home on Old Laurel Road, children's toys were coated by a layer of soot.
Terry Kincaid, who lived in the basement, managed to get out with his children. His brother, who lost his children, woke him up.
"Everybody is trying to hold together for my brother," Kincaid said. "That was his only two kids. I didn't hear a smoke alarm. I woke up to my brother screaming."
Shane Bowman was one of the first firefighters on the scene and said much of the house was on fire as he and another firefighter arrived.
In the front yard, he could see a North Carolina state trooper on the ground who he says had tried to rescue the children twice, but was forced back by flames and smoke.
"Very brave -- he tried to go in and make a rescue. He had heard there were children involved and did what any of us would do," Bowman said.
The trooper was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
By mid-morning, the children's grandfather showed up at the home still in shock by what happened.
He told us he wanted to be there for his grandchildren and is asking for people to pray for the family.
They said that between the two families, there were 10 people living there. Three of them had to be rushed to the hospital because of smoke inhalation.
Firefighters from both Burke and Catawba counties rushed to the scene after the fire with entrapment call went out. They were unable to get inside the home because the fire was so intense that it caused the roof to collapse in two places.
The State Bureau of Investigation and the Burke County Fire Marshal's Office are investigating the blaze.