Two people died and two children were injured when a house in Hibbing, MN caught fire in the early morning hours of December 26. Five people were inside the home located in the 200 block of 42nd Street E. when the fire broke out just after 1:30 a.m.
Steven Gillitzer, 67, and his wife Patricia Gillitzer, 63, were killed in the blaze and two children suffered life-threatening injuries. A third child sustained injuries that were less severe.
— KARE 11 (@kare11) December 26, 2017
When firefighters arrived at the scene, one child was outside the home in sub-zero temperatures as the fire raged. When they pulled the four other family members from the burning house, all of them were unconscious. Rescuers were able to resuscitate the two children, whose names have not been released. The children were transported to a local hospital where they are receiving treatment for their injuries which may include thermal burns and/or smoke inhalation.
Firefighters battled the blaze for three hours before bringing it under control. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
“This is a heavy day for the Hibbing Fire Department and we send our condolences to the family of this terrible tragedy. Please take the extra time today to ensure your smoke alarms are working and that you safeguard your home of fire hazard,” Hibbing Fire Marshal Bryan Fagerstrom told KARE 11 News.
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) December 26, 2017
About half of home heating fires occur during the months of December, January and February, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Last year, 2,950 died and 12,775 were injured in 475,5000 structure fires in the U.S.