Three children died Sunday in an early-morning fire that apparently originated in the kitchen and tore through their home in the north Minneapolis’ Jordan neighborhood, officials said.
The bodies of two of the victims were found in a first-story bedroom in the rear of the house by firefighters when they arrived to battle the blaze, according to family members and a fire scanner recording posted on MN Police Clips. The third victim was taken to an area hospital, where he or she later died, officials said.
The county medical examiner's office is expected to release the victims' names and their causes of death in the next few days.
When they arrived, firefighters found the modest two-story frame house at at 2755 Penn Av. North "fully engulfed" and encountered heavy smoke and fire while trying to reach a rear bedroom, where a 911 caller said the children were "trapped," according to the scanner recording.
“There’s no way we can enter this from the rear, this whole place is involved,” a fire official is heard telling a dispatcher on the recording.
One of the house’s occupants, who said she had stepped outside briefly before the blaze broke out, said that she tried to enter the burning house but was driven back by flames and dense smoke. She said the fire may have been caused by an oven that was left turned on and unattended.
As she spoke, sobbing family members consoled each other on the street.
“Lord let this be a dream,” one man wailed, after speaking with fire officials. “Let me wake up and hear my nieces and nephews voices again.”
The blaze, which was reported shortly before midnight, apparently started on the ground floor, before spreading to the roof, according to scanner traffic and fire officials. By 1:25 a.m., the blaze had been extinguished.
The incident recalled a similar tragedy on Valentine’s Day of 2014, when five children were killed after a North Side duplex went up in flames. That blaze was one of the deadliest in Minneapolis history.
The cause of Sunday's fire is under investigation.