Minnesota house fire death toll rises to three children; Four others in the family remain hospitalized

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The number of children killed as a result of a fire at their St. Paul home has risen to three, family members said Saturday.

At a news conference, Pa Cheng Vang, the children's father, said he was grateful for the community's support since the fire broke out early on Wednesday. He was working at the time.

The children were identified as 5-year-old twins Sivntxhi Vang and Ntshiab Si Vang, and a 4-year-old boy, Manj Those Nutj Vang. Sivntxhi died on Wednesday. The family announced the two other deaths on Saturday,

A 1-year-old and their 28-year-old mother remained hospitalized in critical condition, they said. Two other children also remain in hospital, but their conditions have improved.

“I strongly encourage every family to practice fire drills at home, especially in the middle of the night,” the father told reporters. “I don't want any family, or the community, to see faces (in the same) condition as my family.”

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter joined the family at the news conference, saying he knew the couple and their children because Vang's wife, Ker Lor, had previously interned in his office.

“You've lived through all our worst nightmares,” the mayor said.

The cause of the fire was accidental, but it remains under investigation, Deputy Fire Chief Roy Mokosso said earlier. There were working smoke detectors in the home.