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Remains of missing children recovered after SW Minnesota fire

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The remains of both missing children have been recovered from the scene of a southwest Minnesota farmhouse fire in rural Redwood County near Lucan, the Marshall Independent reports.

The Star Tribune says 7-year-old Hazel Thooft and her brother, 4-year-old Isaiah, were killed in the fire. Hazel was second-grader at St. Anne’s Catholic School in Wabasso and Isaiah attended preschool in the same district, the newspaper says.

Bernadette and Matthew Thooft and their five other children managed to escape the home safely when the Wednesday afternoon blaze broke out. The body of one child was found Wednesday night while the other wasn't located until Thursday afternoon.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated by the Department of Public Safety's State Fire Marshal Division.

A responding Vesta Fire Department firefighter was badly injured when he slipped on the ice and was run over by a fire rig.

The volunteer firefighter, Neal Hansen, suffered severe leg injuries. He underwent surgery at a Mankato hospital and he was scheduled to have a rod placed in his left leg during another procedure Friday, the Star Tribune reported.

Lucan is 22 miles east of Marshall, Minnesota. “I was just heartbroken. In a small town like this everybody’s kind of family. And everybody knows everybody, so it’s terrible,” neighbor Delores Hogen told WCCO.

The Red Cross arranged for the family to stay at a hotel in nearby Redwood Falls, WCCO reported.

Donation funds have been set up for both the Thooft and Hansen families on

KLGR Radio says a fund for the Thoofts has also been established at the 1st Independent Bank of Lucan.

Donations of gift cards, clothing, toiletries, non-perishable food items are being collected. For more information, email or call 507-929-2273.

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