Minneapolis arson investigators have ruled the cause of the Colfax Avenue duplex fire that killed 5 children is "undetermined," but they have declared the fire accidental
"While the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time, there is nothing to indicate that this is anything other than an accident and there is no indication of intentional acts," investigators concluded.
Investigators will continue looking into possible causes of the fire, which is not uncommon following an undetermined finding.
The cause of a 2010 fire that killed 3 adults and 3 children in the apartments above McMahon's Pub in south Minneapolis was also "undetermined." Investigators also ruled out arson in that case.
Christopher, Mary, Fanny, Troy and Gwendolyn were trapped inside as their father Troy Lewis tried unsuccessfully to save them the morning of Feb. 14. Two of Lewis' girls, Chaka and Electra, remain in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center.
SPACE HEATER WAS ON FIRE
The fire started around 5 a.m. Valentine's Day morning near the corner of 28th Avenue N and Colfax Avenue N, just west of Farview Park in the Hawthorne neighborhood. Troy Lewis said he bought a space heater because he told the landlord three of the heaters didn't work, but the landlord hadn't fixed the problem.
"The heater was on fire in the house," Lewis told Fox 9's Maury Glover. "It was just blazing. That's when I backed off because I couldn't get no closer because I was running out of air."
The duplex at 2818 Colfax Avenue N. passed inspection 6 months ago and property owner Paul Bertelson told Fox 9 there were no maintenance issues he was aware of.