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Mother and 2-year-old daughter killed in Rochester apartment fire


A woman and her 2-year-old daughter were killed in an apartment fire in Rochester Thursday evening.

The Rochester Fire Department said it was called to the fire in the 400 block of 27th St. NE, at 5:45 p.m. to find the building ablaze.

Two people were rescued from the four-plex, but upon entering the building a woman and girl were found. They died despite the best efforts of Gold Cross Ambulance.

ABC 6 reports they have been identified as Melissa Phiefer, 35, and her daughter Emily Phiefer. Melissa Phiefer died at the scene, with her daughter dying at the hospital a short time later.

Fire officials told the Star Tribune the blaze was "unusual" for that time of the day, reaching extreme temperatures inside before shattering a window, with toxic fumes built up inside.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as with the first responders who made such valiant efforts to save them," the fire department said on Facebook.

Deputy fire chief Steve Belau told KTTC the fire is likely to have been burning for some time.

Although officials haven't confirmed the relationship between the woman and toddler, KTTC says they are believed to be mother and daughter.

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