1 child found dead, 1 missing in aftermath of SW Minnesota house fire


The body of a child was recovered from the scene of a farmhouse fire in rural Redwood County near Lucan, the Marshall Independent reports. One child is still unaccounted for after the Wednesday afternoon blaze. Both were believed to be under 10 years old, the Star Tribune says.

Two adults and several other children managed to escape the home safely when a fire broke out, but two children were initially unaccounted for. FOX 9 says remains of one of the missing children were located Wednesday night.

Neighbors told the Star Tribune that Bernadette and Matthew Thooft lived at the home with their seven young children.

KEYC reports the farmhouse was also used for group child care, called Wittle Wabbits Daycare.

The names and ages of the victims have not yet been released.

WCCO reports when Lucan fire crews responded to the home around 2:30 p.m., they found the two-story single family farmhouse fully engulfed in flames.

One Vesta Fire Department firefighter was injured when he slipped on the ice and was run over by a fire rig. A fundraising website says the volunteer firefighter, Neal Hansen, suffered severe leg injuries and is undergoing surgery at a Mankato hospital. A donation fund has been set up on GiveForward.com to help out Hansen's family financially while he recovers.

Lucan is located 22 miles east of Marshall, Minn. The Department of Public Safety's State Fire Marshal Division is handling the investigation at the request of the Redwood County Sheriff's Department.

The Marshall Independent said firefighters from Wabasso, Seaforth, Wanda, Vesta, Belview, Walnut Grove and Milroy, along with the Minnesota State Patrol also assisted.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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

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