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Five people, including children, die in Minneapolis duplex fire

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Five people were killed, including at least three children, in a fire early on Friday at a Minneapolis duplex where fire crews found heavy fire and smoke pouring from the second floor, officials said.

At least four other people were injured, officials said.

Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel told reporters that three children were dead at the scene.

"Conditions were very, very precarious when crews arrived," Fruetel said in the briefing, posted by local television stations on their websites.

A firefighter was injured battling the fire, he said, but provided no details on the extent of the injuries.

Fruetel said 15 people lived in the upper and lower units of the 2-1/2-story wood structure.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

The names of those killed will be released pending investigation, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Hennepin County Medical Center said one person was treated and released and three remained hospitalized at midday on Friday.

"We have to rally around together on behalf of the folks here, on behalf of the neighborhood and we will be doing that in the days to come," Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said, calling it a tragic moment for the families, neighborhood and city.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Leslie Adler)

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