PALESTINE Two people were found dead in the rubble after a massive fire in downtown Palestine.

Four people were initially believed to be inside the historic three-story building at 119 East Oak Street when the fire broke out around midnight Friday.

The building houses a thrift shop, and upper floors were being rented out as apartments.

'We did have an apartment upstairs, two-bedroom apartments, so at times there had been people staying there,' said Fire Marshal Alan Wilcher. 'They told us it was possibly four people in there; two people got out.'

Firefighters reported heavy flames coming from the rear before the building started to collapse.

Search dogs located the remains of the two victims.

Several area fire departments were called to assist, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Palestine, the seat of Anderson County, is about 100 miles southeast of Dallas.

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