The fire broke out just after 3:30 a.m. in the town of Pierce. Three people got out, but a 17-year-old, 15-year-old, and 12-year-old were unable to escape. They were pronounced dead at the scene, Nebraska State Fire Marshal Agency Chief Investigator Adam Matzner said in a news release. Their names were not released.
Two people were uninjured. One person was treated at a hospital and released.
Matzner said the fire was accidental and caused by a wood-burning stove.
Autopsies are planned for the three victims.
Pierce Public Schools posted on its Facebook page that it opened the high school Saturday to students seeking support due after “the loss of Pierce High and Pierce Elementary students.”
State Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk, in a statement, called the fire an “unspeakable tragedy.”
“Today’s news is heartbreaking and hard to understand, but I know the community spirit of Pierce is resilient, may it comfort this family and our region,” Flood said.
Pierce, with a population of about 1,700, is 130 miles northwest of Omaha.