MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Neighbors came to the rescue of two little girls trapped in a house fire before firefighters could arrive.

It started as a kitchen fire in one of the units that housed a family of six in the Westridge Townhomes complex off 12th Street Southwest in Forest Lake at about 5:30 p.m. Friday.

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Forest Lake Fire Chief Alan Newman says two young girls were trapped in the second floor bedroom during the fire. Several neighbors came out of their homes to help. They encouraged the older girl to jump from the window, which she eventually did.

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Another neighbor named Keon Whittler, along with a Forest Lake Police Officer John Glader, ran into the burning townhome and rescued the other little girl in the second-floor bedroom. Glader was wearing an operating body camera at the time of the rescue.

Shortly after both girls were rescued, the Forest Lake Fire Department arrived. Two firemen went back into the burning townhome to put out the fire and rescue a dog from the second-floor bedroom. The dog survived.

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A GoFundME account was created for the family to recover what was lost and to help pay for the hospital treatment of the two girls and their dog.

Marielle Mohs