WATERTOWN, Minn. - Three people are dead after a house fire southwest of Minneapolis.
Sheriff's deputies and Watertown firefighters arrived at the home in Watertown Township early Saturday morning and found it engulfed in flames.
Barry Nustad confirms to KARE 11 that the victims were his niece, 32-year-old Tia Nustad, and her two kids: Tyler, 11, and Layla, 3.
"I just hit the floor. Didn't want to believe it," Barry Nustad said.
Nustad said both children died inside the home during the fire. He also said his niece jumped out of a window and tried saving her kids. An ambulance took Tia to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. She was surrounded by family and friends at the hospital when she died from her injuries later that day.
"She's up there with them right now. They need their mom and now they have her," Nustad said. According to Nustad, Tia was a single parent and had a twin sister.
Neighbor Jean Mahler knew the family and said, "Just devastating. You watch it on the news and you see it happen to other people and you're sad but when it's somebody you know, it just is crushing."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with expenses.
The Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office is helping investigate the cause of the fire.