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Team CoverageA little girl died in her bed early this morning when a fire ripped through her home so quickly her mother could not rescue her. That tragic fire broke out around midnight in Taylorsville.
A mother was able to rescue her three-year-old son, but could not get back inside to rescue her four year old daughter.
Around 3:00 p.m., they boarded up the ruined staircase where the tragedy climaxed early this morning. The mother ran down the stairs with one child, and then simply could not get back up the stairs to rescue the other one.
The second floor condo was heavily involved in flames when firefighters arrived. We don't know if the four-year-old girl was already dead at that point. Investigators say the fire started in the living room. At some point, smoke detectors sounded the alarm. It woke up the mother who grabbed one child and ran. Unified Fire Authority Capt. Jay Fearnley said, "She came down the stair with three-year-old boy. Quickly turned back to try to save her four-year-old little girl. Was not able to do so. Very intense heat, very intense smoke, not able to get back inside."
Neighbor Annette Bylund said, "My husband happened to look out the window and it was just engulfed, this end was just engulfed in flames, and the west side."
Firefighters found the little girl lying on her bed, in a sleeping position. It's possible she never woke up, in spite of the smoke detectors. Experts say that's not uncommon. Many kids sleep right through the alarms.
Investigators brought in arson dogs last night and again this morning. They found no hint of flammable liquids, so it is definitely believed to be a tragic accident.
This has been a bad year for fires. Unified Fire Authority says six people have died already, that's one a month.
Experts say a few simple things can save lives. Utah Fire Marshall Ron Morris said, "We like people to do exit drills in their homes. It's a good thing to do. The kids find it enjoyable. Draw a little sketch of the house, have a plan and practice it." When asked if it's realistic for a three-year-old and four-year-old to go through the drill, Morris replied, "You know, studies have shown they are receptive to that and retain a lot more of it than people think."
The most common causes of residential fires are unattended candles, careless smoking, food left on the stove, and overloaded electrical circuits.
A trust fund for the girl has been set up at Wells Fargo, under the name of Kylee Smith.