Five children died on Sunday when they were trapped inside their home during a pre-dawn fire that razed nearly 100 houses in the Philippine capital, officials said.
The parents of the victims had left the kids alone at home in the Manila suburb of Valenzuela to buy vegetables they would sell during the day.
But the parents had locked the house, preventing neighbours and firemen from going in to rescue the children during the fire, according to Chief Inspector Agapito Nacario, city fire chief.
"The children were yelling for help," he said. "They were helpless."
The victims were aged between 3 and 10.
The eldest brother, aged 12, jumped from a second-floor window to get help for his siblings. He suffered burns in different parts of his body and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
But neighbours could not get to the children because the house's door was locked.
"I wanted to save the children but the door was padlocked and I was not strong enough to kick it open," a female neighbour told a radio station.
Nacario said the fire started at the victims' house, where a candle was left unattended.
"A candle fell over and ignited a wooden wall," he said. "The house had no electricity since service there was cut off."
Nacario said criminal charges were being prepared against the parents, citing a law that prohibits parents from leaving children unattended in a locked house.