Harlem-Roscoe firefighters say the Smith House at 10825 Edison Street was fully involved.
A man was able to get out safely with his children, a toddler and an infant. Fire officials say he was sleeping at the time and was probably awakened by the smoke detectors.
The house is a total loss. The fire was so intense that it also damaged the homes on either side. Initial indication is the fire may have started at the back of the one-story house.