UPDATE: Three die in a house fire in Henrico

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Investigators are looking into the cause of an early morning house fire that killed a mother and her two young children.

The fire started just after 6 a.m. this morning at a house at 14 Battery Street in Highland Springs in eastern Henrico County.

Right now investigators are inside the house down the street here, trying to answer a lot of questions, starting with the cause of this deadly fire.

The smoke and flames are gone, but for one family, the black is a reminder of a deadly morning.  A mother and her 2-year-old son and her 8-year-old daughter were all killed.

A fire that when firefighters arrived, was in the kitchen, then up to the attic.

"From the company arrival and the extension of the damage, you can see there was heavy smoke throughout the whole house," said a spokesperson for Henrico Fire Department.

Neighbor Diana Powell saw it all from down the street.

"The fire department got the front door open and you can see if billowing a little bit, out the front door," Powell said.

Firefighters pulled 3 people out the home, and after the fire was out, many realized the tragedy was just beginning.

The two children were taken to VCU Medical Center where they died. Their mother died at the home.

Loren Johnson knows the family.

"One of my players, it was his family member. We just preach family to be for and with each other. So, we took the time to spend time with each other and he's going to be spending the rest of the day with his family," Johnson said.

By mid morning, investigators still were working to find out what and where the fire started. But they did find a possible clue.

"We did find evidence of a smoke detector but we found no evidence of a working battery. And, we are still trying to put the pieces together to find out if that smoke detector was operating at the time of the fire or not operating," said the spokesperson for Henrico Fire.

Working on that piece and the other pieces of the puzzle to shed some light on this family tragedy.

Investigators expect to be out here for a few more hours.   At this point we do not know the names of the three killed.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.