WATERTOWN, Minn. (WCCO) – Saturday night, a Minnesota town is mourning the loss of a mom and her two children.
Family members say Tia Nustad died after her Watertown home caught fire early Saturday morning. Her children Tyler and Layla were also killed in the fire.
“I don’t even want to look over there. It’s just, it’s sad. It’s so sad,” said Jean Mahler.
It was around 4:30 Saturday morning when Mahler was awakened by flashing lights in her room.
“I look out and the whole road is lined with fire trucks,” said Mahler.
Her heart sank when she saw the fire was right next door, where her neighbor Tia lived with her two children. She didn’t know then if they were okay. Later that morning a friend confirmed what Mahler feared most.
“She called me back not less than a half an hour later and said the kids died. And I said, ‘Oh my God.’ Devastating. Just devastating,” said Mahler.
Tia Nustad initially made it out of the burning home, and was rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center. But Saturday afternoon, a family already hit hard by tragedy got more bad news.
“My wife and I were kind of friends with them. We went down to the HCMC and she just didn’t make it,” said family friend Kevin Butcher.
Butcher said he’s still in shock over what happened.
“She was a great mom. A super sweet lady. Loved her kids,” said Butcher.
As he looked at what remained of the home, Butcher said he’s thinking about family and friends who were close to Tia and her children. Some of her friends have already set up a GoFundMe page for the Nustad family.
“To lose three people in one family. That’s hard to take for anybody,” said Butcher.
Tia and her kids had been renting the home and had been living there about a year.
The fire remains under investigation and the sheriff told WCCO that so far, there doesn’t appear to be foul play.