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Deadly house fire considered an accident, but exact cause is unknown

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Investigators say they're unable to determine the cause of the house fire that killed five Minneapolis children last week, but they consider it an accident.

FOX 9 reports arson investigators say they've found nothing to indicate the fire was intentional or was anything other than an accident. Troy Lewis, the father of the children, told the station it was a space heater that was burning early Friday morning in the upper unit of a duplex in the Hawthorne neighborhood.

As KSTP reports, the siblings who were killed ranged in age from 8 years to 18 months. Two of their sisters remain hospitalized. A 9-year-old is in critical condition. A 5-year-old has been upgraded to serious condition, KSTP says.

Minneapolis' fire chief said three of the children were dead at the scene, while two died later at a hospital. This week the Hennepin County medical examiner reported the causes of death included smoke inhalation, burns, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Troy Lewis sustained back injuries as he jumped out of a second-story window to escape the blaze. In interviews from his hospital bed he recounted how he went back into the burning house in hopes of saving his children, and recovered two of the seven.

MPR reports that even though it's now officially listed as undetermined, investigators will continue to look into the cause of the fire.

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