Skip to main content

Investigators unable to pinpoint cause of Minneapolis fire that killed 5

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

An investigation by the State Fire Marshal was unable to determine the cause of a Valentine's Day blaze that killed five children at a north Minneapolis duplex.

The Associated Press reports the Fire Marshal identified where the fire started – the center of the building's second floor – but not how it was ignited.

The Fire Marshal says the investigation remains open. Find the 21-page report here.

The fire gutted the home where Troy Lewis lived with his seven children. Lewis and two of his daughters, Shaca and Electra (right), were hospitalized with injuries but survived the blaze.

The five victims ranged in age from 18 months to 8 years. Hennepin County's medical examiner determined they died of burns and smoke inhalation.

The Star Tribune reported this week that a lawyer representing Lewis and his family is preparing a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner of the property, Paul Bertelson. The attorney for Bertelson's company, Mission Inn Minnesota, declined to comment to the newspaper about the prospect of a lawsuit.

Another former tenant of the building has already filed a lawsuit against Bertelson. Dianna Shonville Jones, who lived there before Lewis, accuses Bertelson of financial malfeasance but also alleges he had failed to respond to reports of a faulty electrical system.

Lewis has said his apartment lacked heat, prompting him to buy a space heater to keep his family warm. He says the heater was in the center of the apartment, which is where the Fire Marshal says the fire started. Lewis contends he had alerted the landlord to the lack of heat more than once but Bertelson denies that.

The Star Tribune says Lewis' attorney has asked a court to appoint a trustee on behalf of the family, which is a first step toward a lawsuit.

Next Up

Jacob Frey and Cedric Alexander

Cedric Alexander walks back comments made on Twitter; Frey reacts

Alexander also blocked multiple accounts, some being media and journalists.

Keith Ellison

Minnesota bans fraudulent company targeting student loans holders

The settlement will return the full amount collected from Minnesota customers.

Screen Shot 2022-10-07 at 11.13.49 AM

Celebrated barefoot water skier died in accident on Brooklyn Center lake

Paul Oman died in a barefoot water skiing accident on Sept. 12.

Screen Shot 2022-10-07 at 10.49.51 AM

Sisters now living in MN win $80K over treatment at Texas border facility

Kerlin Sanchez Villalobos and her sister were awarded a settlement of $80,000.

Minneapolis Fire Department

Series of garage fires cause damage in south Minneapolis

Two of the fires occurred on the 4500 block of Snelling Avenue.

Cedric Alexander

Minneapolis’ public safety chief spends evening mocking, blocking on Twitter

The community safety commissioner responded to one user's question about downtown policing by calling them two-faced.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 4.04.40 PM

Ramen bar announced for upcoming Eat Street Crossing food hall

The restaurant roster is filling up at Eat Street Crossing.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Man dies after being shot during argument in Minneapolis

It's the 70th homicide in Minneapolis this year.

NearNorthEncampment

Minneapolis police, city employees clear out Near North encampment

This comes as colder weather moves through the state.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 4.32.46 PM

New T.J. Maxx to open in the Twin Cities this month

Opening day will kick off with extended hours.

Related

Varying causes of death for children killed in Minneapolis duplex fire

The five children killed in a north Minneapolis duplex fire have been identified, and their causes of death determined.