Five people, including at least three children, died in a fire that spread through a three-story Minneapolis duplex early Friday, authorities said.
“This a tragic moment for the city of Minneapolis, this a tragic moment for north Minneapolis, this is a tragic moment for this neighborhood, this block and these families,” Mayor Betsy Hodges said at a news conference on a snow-covered street outside the home.
Fifteen people lived in the duplex, according to the city’s fire chief. Three children died at the scene. Five people were transported to hospitals, including a parent. Two individuals later died. Seven escaped the fire completely and were being assisted by the Red Cross.
The Hennepin County medical examiner's office said in a statement that the identities of the five victims would be released "pending investigation."
Firefighters received a 911 call about smoke in the area at about 5 a.m., Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel said. The fire heavily damaged the second and third floors, and firefighters entered the structure under extremely dangerous conditions, he said.
"Crews did a remarkable job of excavating what victims they could," Fruetel said.
Video from the scene showed the fire blowing through windows, lighting up the pre-dawn sky. In the aftermath of the fire, snow still covered part of the roof and icicles hung from its edge. The duplex passed an inspection last fall, the fire chief said.
A fire that struck a three-story apartment building on New Year's Day in Minneapolis killed two people and critically injured six people. Eight others suffered less serious injuries. The cause of that fire has not been determined, a fire department official said.
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