Two children have died in a house fire in Racine and two others have been seriously injured.

Fire Chief Steve Hansen says firefighters responded to the burning home shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday. Firefighters were able to get one child out right away, but Hansen says bars on the windows of the room where the children were located hampered efforts to reach the others. It took another 12 minutes to reach two more children and five additional minutes to reach the fourth.

The children and an injured man were taken to Wheaton All Saints Hospital. Two children died there and the two others were sent to Children's Hospital in metro Milwaukee.

WTMJ radio reported fire officials said the window bars, heavy smoke and furniture blocking doorways made the search and rescue effort difficult.