By Shereen Siewert

Three of five people inside a home that burned early Friday in Merrill have been transported to University Hospital in Madison, according to the Merrill Fire Department.

Fire Chief Josh Klug said the victims are a 48-year-old woman, a 58-year-old man, and a 21-year-old man. Pets inside the home at the time of the fire remain unaccounted for.

The fire was reported at about 3 a.m. Friday at a home on Schultz Spur Drive in the town of Merrill. Two other occupants inside the home escaped major injury.

Fire officials have not yet determined the cause of the blaze, but say smoking materials are a possibility. The state Fire Marshal was contacted about the fire but is not actively involved in the investigation, Klug said.

At this time it is unknown what started the fire, but investigators will be looking closer at the possibility of smoking material as a cause. The Wisconsin State Fire Marshal’s office was contacted about the fire, but is not actively involved in the investigation at this time. I

“We are still gathering information and investigating this incident,” Klug said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.”