A pregnant mother died after she ran back into a burning building to try and rescue her toddler. The fire broke out in the Philadelphia home at 4am on Friday (8 January) in the city's Fairhill neighbourhood.

Elizabeth Perez, 29, who was eight months pregnant, initially escaped the blaze with other relatives but after realising her two-year-old son Nathaniel, was missing, she ran back inside to try to save him.

The mother and son died after they were overwhelmed by smoke and flames. She was found holding the child near a second-floor bedroom doorway. "It's not a pretty sight," Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer told NBC Philadelphia, "her holding her child in her arms trying to get back out."

Someone in the house initially tried to extinguish the blaze on his own, Sawyer said. "Because they were trying to fight the fire, it delayed everyone getting out."

The cause of the fire is now under investigation. One of five kerosene heaters found throughout the house may have ignited a blanket, say fire investigators. Officials said the home had no working smoke detectors. Two adults and four children were taken to a hospital, where they were in a stable condition.

Just hours before her death, Ms Perez posted a photo of her son at the dinner table, writing: "My baby boy was hungry and this is what he wanted pancakes." She had been due to deliver a baby girl on Valentine's Day.