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3 dead in fire at Wisconsin group home for people with disabilities

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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) — Officials say three people have died in a fire at a group home for people with disabilities in eastern Wisconsin.

An Adult Care Consultants spokesperson says two women and two men lived at the home, and only one man survived.

The man that died was in his early 20's, and the two women were in their 50's and 60's.

One victim was found not long after firefighters responded to the Fond du Lac home about 6 a.m. Thursday. Two others were found later and all victims were on the second floor of the house.

Fond Du Lac Fire Chief Pete O'Leary says it's been a hard day for his fire department. 

"You lose three people in a fire, but it's a lot, and it hurts to think that we weren't able to save them," he said.

The fire started on the outside of the home, possibly somewhere on the porch. It then quickly spread inside.

The home was privately leased by tenants who were capable of living on their own but needed some help. 

Adult Care Consultants case managers kept tabs on doctor visits, medication, transportation and cleaning for the tenants.

Mary Jaber says her 99-year-old mother-in-law who lives across from the home was evacuated because of the amount of smoke blowing into her home. 

"They came into the house and checked it for the smoke and stuff and opened up the windows, turned the fans on and airing out the house now," Jaber said.

Chief O'Leary says they will look for answers as to why the victims were unable to escape, including whether there were working smoke detectors in the home and whether the residents had an escape plan in the event of a fire.

Autopsies will be done as part of the investigation. 

O'Leary says the fire investigation team has had a productive day and expects a cause to be released fairly soon.

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