One of City’s Worst-Ever Fires
FIVE CHILDREN PERISHED EARLY Friday morning in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as an extremely intense fire swept through a 3-level duplex home.
When the first units arrived the children’s father Troy Lewis and another of his children were laying in the front yard after jumping from a 2nd-story window. A seventh child also survived, but the two survivors, both girls ages 7 and 8, are in critical condition. The father is in serious condition.
When the first engine arrived the interior stairway had already burned through and collapsed.
The bodies of three children were recovered, and five people — a recent widower and four of his seven children — were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center and North Memorial Medical Center. Two of the children later died.
Lewis’ friends say Lewis told them he awoke to the crying of one of his children and opened his bedroom door in the upper unit of the duplex, but intense smoke chased him back inside his room.
He jumped from an upper floor window and ran in and out of the house four times in attempts to rescue his children, they said. He told them he was able to find two but was unable to get to the other five.
There was no immediate indication of what caused the blaze. Investigators are on the scene today working on that.
KSTP-TV filed this updated video report Saturday morning:
The family had just moved into the rental unit this past October following the mother’s early death from heart disease. The building’s owner says that the upstairs unit had electric baseboard heaters and both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
The duplex passed a city inspection in the summer and was issued a new rental license a week ago, according to city records. The inspection report shows a variety of violations that appear minor though one did call for repairing smoke detectors.
All the violations were taken care of and the license was renewed, city spokesman Matt Laible said.
The Associated Press filed this touching video interview with a neighbor: