MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A family of six escaped a house fire early Sunday morning in St. Paul, but one man died inside the home.

It happened in the 1200 block of Clarence Street just after midnight.

St. Paul’s assistant fire chief says the family was trapped on the second floor.

A man in his 30s jumped to safety and then broke the fall of his 9-year-old son before firefighters arrived.

Crews rescued a mother and three sons – ages 1, 3 and 8 – with a ladder when they arrived.

Firefighters found someone dead when they went into the triplex.

“It’s horrible. Our crews out here are having a hard time. This is a tough night for us, it’s a tough night for this family, obviously, and it’s a tough night for the residents of St. Paul,” said Mike Gaede, assistant fire chief in St. Paul.

Neighbors tell us the person who died was an older man.

The first fire truck that arrived on scene just happened to be a few blocks away when the neighbor called 911.

Gaede says if the firefighters would have been even five minutes later, all the children might not have not survived.

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