Released by the city of Palestine:
Palestine, TX - Just after midnight, Palestine Police dispatch received a report of a structure fire at 119 East Oak Street. Palestine Fire Department responded with three engines and a command vehicle. There were unconfirmed reports of the possibility of individuals being inside the building.
Upon arrival at the scene, heavy fire conditions in the rear of the building and heavy smoke throughout the structure were encountered. Within minutes of being on scene, the structure suffered the first of multiple collapses making it impossible for fire fighters to enter the building. A defensive strategy was employed to protect exposures and fire personnel on scene. Once the fire was extinguished, a search mission immediately commenced.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice personnel assisted in the efforts by bringing in canine units to search the area. At approximately 4:00 pm two victims were located at the scene. At this time a positive identification of the victims has not been made. They were taken to the coroner's office for autopsy.
The fire remains under investigation, and the State Fire Marshal's Office has been contacted to assist with the investigation.
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