Fathers were among the many Philadelphia firefighters braving the mid-December deep freeze trying to save a child from the intense flames.
The mission likely even personal.
"I could see the embers just flying. Embers in the sky just burning and flying.”
But their valiant efforts could not stop an aggressive fire from claiming a boy, around 11-years-old, lost in an upstairs room.
"Our folks are just crestfallen right now. This is just a tragic outcome."
Firefighters had to pull back at one point, given the danger.
Icy conditions outside working against crews along with flame temps that hit a thousand degrees.
"The smoke was very, very thick and so I knew it was bad."
Fire officials say the boy's 39-year-old father made it out but with severe burns over 60 percent of his body.
"We consider this family. We're family on this block. It affects us all."
One likely reason a neighbor jumped in to rescue Ella Workman-Brown's 89-year-old mother from the fire that reached her house.
"Physically she's ok but mentally and emotionally you know, it's something for an 89 year old elderly person to go through."
A harrowing rescue, but hearts are still heavy.
"We (are) so thankful for him to be able to do that but at the same time my heart goes out to the family that's next door that lost his son."
Investigators say the wind carried the fire to other homes, destroying three, damaging a fourth. All the whole this reportedly stolen car sat blocking a fire hydrant.
Crews later towing it away.
Meantime the ties that bind this Cobbs Creek section need now more than ever.
"We're family you know? So we do whatever we can, whatever is necessary for each other."