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Cause sought of Upper Peninsula fire blamed in 3 deaths

February 26, 2018

Firefighters battle a fire in downtown Ironwood, Mich., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. The fire claimed at least one life and destroyed two buildings. One of the buildings included two floors of apartments. As of noon, public safety officials wouldn't comment on other injuries, but were working to account for everyone. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. (Jason Juno/The Daily News via AP)

IRONWOOD, Mich. (AP) — Authorities are working to determine the cause of a fire in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that’s blamed in the deaths of three people.

The Ironwood Public Safety Department has identified the dead as 57-year-old Mark Arnold Verrete, 51-year-old Patrick James Somerville and 27-year-old Levi Dean Watkins. They all were residents of Ironwood.

The fire badly damaged or destroyed two downtown Ironwood buildings last Wednesday. One of the buildings had apartments on two floors.

Public Safety Director Greg Klecker has said the fire is considered suspicious until investigators can learn more about the cause. Police say one person died at the hospital and two other bodies were found in the wreckage.

Ironwood is in the western Upper Peninsula in Gogebic (Go-GEY’-bic) County, 18 miles (29 kilometers) south of Lake Superior.

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