5 children dead in Minneapolis fire - KMSP-TV

5 children dead in Minneapolis fire

Posted: Updated:
An early morning fire claimed the lives of 5 children at this duplex on Colfax Ave. N. in Minneapolis. Photo by Leah Beno / Fox 9 News. An early morning fire claimed the lives of 5 children at this duplex on Colfax Ave. N. in Minneapolis. Photo by Leah Beno / Fox 9 News.
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

5 children have died following a Valentine's Day fire at duplex in north Minneapolis.

The fire started at about 5 a.m. near the corner of 28th Avenue N. and Colfax Avenue N., just west of Farview Park in the Hawthorne neighborhood.

"The entire community is affected by this fire," Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said. "This is a tragic moment for this neighborhood and these families."

THE VICTIMS

The Minneapolis Fire Department said 15 people were living in the duplex.

Upstairs lives a single father and his 7 children, including the 5 children who died in the fire. The father remained in serious condition Friday at HCMC. The 2 surviving children remained in the hospital, but their conditions were not released.

A couple and their 5 children live downstairs and were able to escape the fire. The family was treated at the scene and the Red Cross was helping them find temporary shelter.

'STUDENTS WILL BE MISSED'


Two of the children killed in the fire -- a 1st grader and a 2nd grader -- attended Bethune Community School.

"We share in the sorrow and grief of the families of the children killed in this morning's house fire," Minneapolis Public Schools CEO Michael Goar said. "The students will be missed by their teachers, classmates and our entire school community. It is always difficult to understand a loss like this and it is an especially important time to reach out for support."


PHOTO: Neighbors brought balloons to the Colfax Ave. duplex

WHAT CAUSED THE FIRE?

Neighbors told Fox 9 they woke up to a man screaming "his kids were burning," and he also said something about a heater. Investigators said they are looking through the living room of the burned home for any possible cause and origin of the fire.

INSPECTION REPORTS

Fox 9 spoke with the owner of the property, Paul Bertelson, who said the duplex passed inspection 6 months ago and didn't have any maintenance issues he was aware of.

Inspection reports show a new rental license was issued a week ago. The reports also show a smoke detector wasn't working on July 13, but that issue was resolved in October.

40 FIREFIGHTERS


PHOTO: Twitter / Stephanie Gailhard


Firefighters arrived to heavy smoke showing from the second floor of the 2 1/2 story, multi-unit house at 2818 Colfax Avenue N. More than 40 firefighters worked through extreme weather conditions to extinguish the fire on the second and third floors.

One firefighter was injured.

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