6 dead in Wisconsin apartment fire, police say criminal investigation underway

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Six people died in an apartment fire that started early Friday morning in Wisconsin, officials said.

The fire started at 5:11 a.m. in a four-unit apartment building at 704 Mansfield Court in Hartland, a suburb of Milwaukee, the Hartland Police Department said at a news conference.

First responders were faced with “a large amount of fire” and began rescuing people from the building and its balconies.

Hartland Police Chief Torin Misko said six people died. Authorities initially reported seven deaths.

The process of identifying and notifying next of kin was underway Friday afternoon, he said.

It is unclear whether the deaths occurred in one unit or the entire building.

Authorities did not immediately disclose how many people lived in the building or how many might have been injured.

A total of 15 fire departments and nine police departments responded to help provide assistance and secure the building.

Misko said the fire was the subject of an “active criminal investigation”, but no further details on a possible cause were released.

“This is a tragic incident for the community and for the first responders involved,” Misko said. “We ask the community to respect the families’ privacy.”

The state Fire Marshal’s Office is also investigating the incident with the Wisconsin Crime Lab and the Waukesha Sheriff’s Office.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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