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Victims of Trempealeau County fire identified

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River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

It took a few days, but authorities have finally identified three people killed in an apartment fire in Independence last Sunday.

Officials used dental records, among other things, to identify Ronald Beck Sr., 60, Gerardo Perez, 44, and Humberto Vanegas, 35.

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Beck was a Vietnam War veteran. A friend said Beck received several commendations after being shot twice.

Last weekend's fire destroyed the four-story Independence Hotel and Tap, a 90-year-old structure that was converted to apartments in recent years.

A family of four escaped unharmed, along with two others. The bodies of Perez and Beck were found soon after the fire got under control.

Vanegas was not found until the next day when rescuers searched the rubble for more bodies.

We still don't know what started the blaze. The state fire marshal's office continues to investigate. Foul play is not suspected.

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