The sheriff's office said that 40-year-old Angela Cox, 3-year-old Kayden Shambach and 20-month-old Chase Shambach died of smoke inhalation before firefighters arrived.
Goldwin-Falcon Fire Chief Wayne Lucas told ABC11 Eyewitness News that there were no flames, just heavy smoke and the windows of the home were black.
He said they found Cox in the kitchen and the children in separate bedrooms.
"I don't know whether she was attempting to put out the fire, but she was the only one of the victims that appeared to have burns," he said.
The children's mother was at work at a nearby meat packing plant at the time of the fire. Just hours earlier, she stopped by the house to make sure everything was alright.
Cox's friend, Beverly Casey, says she just visited with her good friend over the weekend.
"She was a very giving and caring person," Casey said. "She would do anything for you; always smiling, laughing she was very full of life.
She says Cox's two young grandchildren were also full of life.
"Kayden was rambunctious, but he was sweet," Casey said. "And Chase was like the Gerber baby. I said, 'if he was my grandson, I'd have him on every poster because he was just so ..' and he coo'd all the time. Didn't talk, just coo, coo."
The pain of the fire and the deaths has rippled out well beyond the family. First responders are saying the fire has taken a heavy emotional toll on them.
"I've been in it for 40 years and I've never been to a three fatality ... it's sad," Lucas said. "We have kids and grandkids in the very age group … and so it's tough."
The fire chief has asked councils to be on hand Thursday to talk with the firefighters who were at the scene.