Six people were killed in an apartment fire in a Milwaukee suburb early Friday, officials said.
The fire erupted Friday morning at a four-family apartment building in the village of Hartland, about 25 miles west of Milwaukee, Hartland Police Chief Torin Misko said at a news conference.
After arriving at the scene, Hartland police and fire crews evacuated residents from the building and balconies. Six people died in the fire, Misko said.
Police did not immediately provide any additional information about the victims.
By mid-afternoon Friday, one side of the apartment complex was completely burned while the other side appeared almost untouched.
“This is a tragic incident for the community and for the first responders involved,” Misko said. “We ask that the community respect the privacy of the families and refrain from visiting or coming to the immediate area.”
Misko said a criminal investigation is underway but did not confirm if investigators believe the fire was set intentionally.
Hartland leaders expressed shock and sadness at the morning’s events and said they had more questions than answers Friday.
“Everybody’s in shock,” village Trustee Ann Wallschlager said. “For something like this to happen in our village, it’s very heartbreaking.”
Village President Jeffrey Pfanner asked the public for prayers.
“This is a really tragic, tragic day,” he said.
Wallschlager said residents are waiting for news of who was affected and how they can help.
“I was born and raised here,” she said. “This is a community that really sticks together and helps each other. I know there’s probably a line of people waiting to help.”
The American Red Cross is providing aid to three families displaced by the fire, spokesperson Justin Kern said. A total of 10 people were displaced, including two families of four and an adult couple, Kern said.
A total of 15 fire departments and nine police departments responded to the fire. The Hartland Police Department is heading the investigation into the fire.
“Unfortunately, this is still a very active and dynamic investigation,” Misko said.