Four people died in a fast-moving house fire in Shirley, Long Island late Friday night. Jennifer McCusker, 41, was killed, as were her three children, seven-year-old Aidan Tarbell and 2-year-old twins Brendan and Ava Jane Mistretta. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward Romaine said firefighters were incredibly upset: "They had never seen anything so horrific."

The fire occurred after 10 p.m. Police and firefighters say that McCusker had gone to the toddlers' bedroom and managed to remove one child from the crib. She was hit by smoke inhalation while trying to get the other child. Newsday reports, "Firefighters found.. McCusker... in the bedroom clutching one of her children."

The fire was intense. A neighbor said to WCBS 2, "I heard loud popping noise and I came outside and the house was engulfed in flames. It was pouring out the windows, out the sides, it was nothing, nothing I could do.”

Another neighbor's sons, an EMT and a firefighter all tried to get into the house but couldn't because of the smoke and heat.

Neighbor George Flamme spoke to the NY Times; he "described Ms. McCusker as 'one of the greatest people on earth.' He said she had been caring for his 9-year-old son for the last three weeks, while he was in the hospital. He had only returned home a day before." He said, "People need to know what a wonderful person she was. People have to understand that this is real life. We’re living this."

The cause of the fire is being investigated.