Updated 10:48 a.m.: The fire in which four people died Tuesday night was fully out this morning, but two more fire crews showed up around 9 a.m. and began tearing off roof to make sure it doesn't flare up again.

Neighbor Larry Wright, who lives directly across the street, saw the fire and got a ladder to try to aid in fighting the blaze.

As he stood in the street looking at the charred home, Wright recalled rushing to the scene with a ladder, planning to break windows if necessary to help those inside. But he believed everyone had made it out.

"We said, 'Is everybody out? Is everybody out?' And we believed they were," he said. "It made me sick, because I thought they all got out. Then you see them hauling out a little kid with his face all black and lifeless.

"It took me two beers to get to sleep," Wright said. "And it took a while after that."

He described a fast-moving fire and a dramatic scene with multiple people fleeing the property and neighbors and rescue workers trying to aid residents.

Flames were coming out the front door of the house with such ferocity that no one could have gone in or come out, Wright said.

Wright, brother of Rapid City Alderman Jerry Wright, said those who died were a grandmother and three small grandchildren who lived in an apartment at the front of the home. "They could not have gotten out of that place," he said.

Wright said he knows a family -- a couple with four children -- who lived at the property and barely escaped. He said the fire appeared to spread very quickly.

During the evacuation, Wright said he saw a family that had fled the fire as a 1-year-old girl had been getting a bath when the fire broke out.

The girl was wrapped with in a towel as her adult caretaker fled the fire. Wright took the family in, got a blanket for the child, and made them pizza and tea to ease their stress.

A tricycle remained on the front steps and two kiddie cars could be seen in the yard this morning. The neighborhood just north of Meadowbrook Golf Course is residential with a mix of retirees in single-family homes and families living in rental homes.

The tan home consists of a basement and a single above-ground story. Both floors contained apartments.

The American Red Cross showed up last night and provided emergency housing for 17 people at a motel last night, fire officials said. Red Cross officials said as many as 21 people may have been living in the home.

Wright felt there were too many people in the house; he said he worried that a tragedy was bound to happen at the home because there were so many people living there and because of what he described as the poor condition of the property.

Wright said he had complained more than once to the city about the condition of the property.

"I warned them that there would fire," he said this morning. "I really want to get active with the city and stop this crap."

As of 10 a.m., fire investigators wearing breathing masks were entering the property as detectives from the Rapid City Police Department and the Pennington County Sheriff's Office continued to examine the scene.

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Original story:

Four people are dead after a fire Tuesday night in Rapid City.

Three of the victims are children.

The fire department arrived at the fire at 2114 Sixth Ave. at 10:56 p.m. Fire was visible from the upstairs of the building.

Firefighting crews found one adult and three children in the multi-family structure. The three children were transported to Rapid City Regional Hospital where they were pronounced dead.

The adult was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by both fire and law enforcement.

The American Red Cross assisted 17 individuals with a safe place to stay Tuesday evening following the fire.

Check back for more information as it becomes available.

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