2 young boys, father killed in South St. Paul fire

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Two young boys, ages 5 and 2, and their father died after a house fire broke out in South St. Paul on Tuesday night. Neighbors said Soeun Sem, 60, and his sons, Alexander, 5, and Eric, 2, were killed in the fire.

The fire began around 9 p.m. on the 300 block of 11th Avenue South, where firefighters found all three victims on the home's second floor. Sem and the 2-year-old were pronounced dead on-scene and the 5-year-old was taken to Regions Hospital where he was later pronounced dead on Tuesday night.

Assistant chief with the South Metro Fire Department Mark Erickson said at a news conference the fire appears to have started inside or near the basement-level attached garage, but an official cause has not been confirmed. The fire took about 15 minutes to extinguish, but it didn't climb to the second floor where the victims were found. It's unclear if the home was equipped with smoke detectors.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the South St. Paul Police Department and South Metro Fire Department with assistance from the State Fire Marshal. Inver Grove Heights fire crews also responded to the fire.