A woman and two of her children, ages 4 and 7, died Monday in a fire at their home in Hanzinne, a town in southern Belgium, the Belga news agency reported.

A wood stove set off the blaze before dawn and was first detected by the husband, who hurried two of the children outside safe and sound.

Meanwhile the mother tried to rescue the other two who were upstairs in the house, but died in the attempt from the smoke.

Firefighters found her body on the stairs and fetched the two youngsters from where they were sleeping upstairs out of the house and drove them in critical condition to two hospitals, where they died during the day.

Both the father and the two surviving children were admitted to medical centers, but are out of danger. EFE