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Death Toll Rises to 5 in Minnesota Duplex Fire - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Death Toll Rises to 5 in Minnesota Duplex Fire

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(KARE 11) Sources say the death toll has risen to five in an early morning duplex fire on the north side of Minneapolis Friday.

Late Friday morning the Hennepin County Medical Examiner confirmed that five people have died, up from the three children that were declared dead on the scene.

The fire at a duplex at 2818 Colfax Avenue North was called in to dispatchers just before 5 a.m.

Fire crews arrived to find heavy smoke billowing from the second and third floors. Chief John Fruetel says the situation quickly escalated to heavy fire, and his firefighters made entry to the building under what he termed "precarious" conditions.

The bodies of three children were recovered, and five others were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center and North Memorial Medical Center. At this point their conditions are unknown.

A woman who lived in the downstairs of the duplex says her little brother woke her up, saying the man upstairs was screaming and the home smelled of smoke.

Taleaha Cox says that man and seven children lived in the upstairs duplex. Cox says the man's partner, the mother of the children, died in the past few months.

A family friend and neighbor identifies the man as Troy Lewis, although authorities have not confirmed that.

"It's kinda like, depressing almost, to see that, the kids..., " Cox told KARE 11 haltingly. "I hear them all day up there playing around, and to already know what their family is going through, losing a parent already months prior to this, it's like sad. Now he has to bury his kids".

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges echoed those sentiments. "This is a tragic moment for the city of Minneapolis, this is a tragic moment for North Minneapolis, this is a tragic moment for this neighborhood, and this block, and these families," Hodges said.

A total of 15 people lived in the duplex: 7 of them are being assisted by the Red Cross.

One Minneapolis firefighter was injured while battling the blaze. It was a difficult morning for the 40 or so firefighters who dealt with ice and frigid temps.

 

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