Rochester, MN  (KROC AM News) - Smoking materials were the ignition source of the fire that claimed the lives of a Rochester woman and her young daughter Thursday evening.

Rochester Fire Department investigators traced the cause of the deadly blaze in the four-plex at 409 27th Street Northeast to smoking materials that had been left on a futon in the lower level apartment where firefighters found 35-year-old Melissa Pheifer and her 2-year-old daughter, Emily.

Deputy Fire Chief Steve Belau says the fire had been burning undetected for an extended period of time. Belau says there were several smoke detectors in the apartment and they were being checked to see if they were operational. He says the building were recently inspected and all the detectors were in working order.

This was Rochester’s first fire-related fatality since January 2013.

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More information is expected to be released Friday on Thursday's deadly blaze that killed a Rochester woman and her young daughter.

The fire was reported at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at a four-plex located at 409 27th St NE, about a block west of the Bowlocity Entertainment Center on North Broadway.

Crews arrived to find several people in an upstairs unit who were trapped. They were rescued without incident. Firefighters were told there were occupants in one of the lower units, which was also burning. After gaining entrance through a window, they found the woman and child in a back room. They were taken outside but could not be resuscitated.

Rochester Police have identified the victims as 35 year old Melissa Phiefer and her 2 year old daughter Emily.

Deputy Fire Chief Steve Belau says the fire began in the victims’ apartment and had apparently had been burning undetected for an extended period of time. Belau says there were several smoke detectors in the apartment and they were being checked to see if they were operational. He says the building was recently inspected and all the detectors were in working order. Three other people live in the building but they were not there at the time.

Belau says this was the city's first fire-related fatality since January 2013.

 

A home at the Parkside Mobile Home Park caught fire early Friday morning. The call came in around 2:15 from Lot #106. Firefighters arrived to find the occupants - an adult and four children - were able to get out safely. The fire was put out within minutes but the occupants were not able to return due to smoke and water damage. They were assisted by the Red Cross.  The fire began in a light fixture.
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