NEW YORK (AP) – Three small children were left orphaned early Sunday when their family’s minivan veered off a road, hit a tree and burst into flames. The mother and father of the siblings were killed in the crash at about 4 a.m. on the Staten Island Expressway, police said. The children, a 2-year-old boy and 3- and 9-year-old girls, received minor burns, cuts and bruises in the crash and were taken to hospitals.

Police Officer Robert Albano said he broke one of the minivan’s windows with his arm so he could pull the children out.

“They were in shock,” he said. “They were crying. It’s very heart-wrenching that these children lost their parents.”

The children’s 29-year-old father, who was driving, and 30-year-old mother, who was in the front passenger seat, were pronounced dead at the scene, said police, who didn’t release their names.

The minivan had New Jersey license plates. Police were investigating what caused the crash, which left debris including a door handle and a child car seat strewn alongside the roadway.

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