The children, 5-year-old Catisha and 7-year-old Kendall Knight, andtheir 79-year-old grandmother, Annie Knight, didn't get out of thedwelling and apparently died of smoke inhalation, said Edgecombe CountySheriff James Knight.
The victims were related to the sheriff, who ironically is acting asthe chief investigator at the scene.
A woman and four other children who were sleeping in the houseescaped, Sheriff Knight said.
Deborah Knight was the mother of the two children who were killed. Shereturned to the house later Thursday to see what mementos she couldretrieve. She said hers were good children.
Administrators at Bullock Elementary, where Catisha attendedkindergarten and Kendall was a first-grader, said counselors were on handat the school to provide assistance to other students.
Authorities received the fire call at 3:05 a.m. Knightsaid the cause of the fire hadn't been determined, but that it appeared tobe accidental and to have started in the living room with a faulty lamp.
The house was located about six miles southeast of Rocky Mount. Damageto the house was extensive. The cause of the fire has not been determined,but investigators say it appears to have been caused by an electricalmalfunction.