DENVER (CBS4) – Firefighters believe two children were hiding inside a burning home on Tuesday morning which kept them from discovering them right away. The boys were apparently home alone when the fire started.

Firefighters rushed to the burning triplex at 352 South Eliot Street near Alameda and Federal on reports of smoke coming from the residence just after 9:30 a.m. When they conducted an initial search of the home, they turned up with no one.

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Neighbors say the boys are about 2 and 4 years old. When firefighters searched the home again they found them hiding.

“These children were found in really inconspicuous places in the home, so they are believed to have been hiding,” Melissa Taylor with the Denver Fire Department said.

The smoke was billowing out of the triplex and could be seen for blocks.

Firefighters rushed to a burning home in the 350 block of S. Eliot on Tuesday morning (credit: CBS)

Firefighters rushed to a burning home in the 350 block of S. Eliot on Tuesday morning (credit: CBS)

“I saw the smoke … I was driving down Federal and Alameda and I called 911 right away, pulled over in the McDonald’s and got out of the car, and by the time I did all that the ambulance and all that were already here,” said witness Jarred Strenge.

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“So he (firefighter) had the baby in his arms and ran him maybe 100 yards down there with the baby, and he’s like, ‘Open the ambulance door, open that ambulance door!’ So they opened it up, the baby went in and they started giving him a mask and he looked like he was doing good,” another witness said. “We just said a prayer right there and then for the baby.”

A firefighter running to an ambulance with a child in his arms (credit: CBS)

A firefighter running to an ambulance with a child in his arms (credit: CBS)

The boys’ mother was apparently gone when the fire started. When she returned home she collapsed in the street after she learned what happened. Both boys and their mother were rushed to Denver Health Medical Center. The extent of their injuries is unknown. It is unclear whether the children were left home alone.

“It was engulfed in flames pretty bad,” said a neighbor.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“They did a really excellent job by breaking through the doors really fast and getting those kids out,” said another neighbor. “They saved their lives, hopefully, I pray to God. God bless their family.”

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What started the fire is under investigation. Police are investigating to see if any child abuse charges will be filed if the children were left home alone.