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Fire kills two in Trempealeau County

The state fire marshal's office will investigate an apartment blaze that killed two people in the western Wisconsin community of Independence.

It started just before 6 a.m. Sunday at the Independence Hotel Tap, a four-story structure that was used mostly for apartments in recent years.

The building's owner said four of the six units were occupied.

Seven people lived there, though it was not known how many were home when the blaze began. Officials did not say how many survived with injuries.

Independence Fire Chief Dan Kampa said the building was engulfed in flames when his units arrived.

Firefighters and rescuers from Whitehall and Arcadia helped out.

Keith Edison, who was working nearby, said he heard a "loud poof" just before the fire started and the flames emerged for more than an hour.

It took firefighters more than 10 hours to put everything out. The building was destroyed.

The names of the two fatal victims were not immediately released.

Kampa said it was the first fatal structure fire in Independence since the early 1980s.