Six people were confirmed dead on Friday in a predawn apartment fire in suburban Milwaukee, and authorities have opened a criminal investigation for any clues that the blaze may have been deliberately set, police said, Trend reports citing Reuters.
The fire was reported shortly after 5 a.m. in a four-unit apartment house in the village of Hartland, Wisconsin, about 25 miles west of Milwaukee, the town's police chief, Torin Misko, said in a media briefing at the scene.
Police and fire department crews called to the scene "were met with a large amount of fire and began rescuing individuals from the building and balconies," Misko said.
A photo of the blaze posted online by local television station WITI-TV showed flames engulfing a balcony on the upper floor of the two-story building.
"This is an active criminal investigation," Misko told reporters, adding that Hartland police were being assisted by the state fire marshal's office, the Wisconsin crime lab, the local sheriff's department and other agencies.