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Apartment House Fire Kills Five

March 1, 1994

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Fire gutted a two-story apartment house, killing five siblings despite efforts by their older brother and neighbors to save them.

″I was taking my dog out and I heard a woman scream, ’My baby’s burning,‴ said neighbor Cheryl Folkner. But when she reached the home, it was too late.

The children, ages 2 to 11, were found Monday night on the second floor of the old stucco house converted into three apartments, fire officials told the Saint Paul Pioneer Press.

The officials said the children’s mother, Terry Coppage, had left her son, Andre, about 18, to care for them while she went to play bingo. Andre escaped and flames drove him back when he tried to rescue the children.

Fourteen people were left homeless by the blaze, including nine children, ages 1 to 7. The cause of the fire was being investigated.

″We broke doors and windows but the smoke was too much and so we backed off,″ neighbor Michael Woetovech said.

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