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UPDATED: Mother, young son killed in accidental Tacoma house fire

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on May 31, 2011 at 6:00 am with 8 Comments »
May 31, 2011 1:40 pm
Michelle McKim and her son, Shantell Duncan, outside their house last year. The image is taken from a video posted by McKim's father, Kevin McKim, on YouTube.

A mother and her 2-year-old boy died after an accidental fire in their Tacoma house late Monday.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the woman as Michelle McKim, 40, and her son as Shantell Duncan, 2.

A Tacoma fire crew responded to the home in the 900 block of South Puget Sound Avenue just before midnight after a bystander heard a smoke detector sounding inside the house, Tacoma fire and police officials report.

When they arrived, they could hear the alarm sounding inside the 1,336-square-foot house. The firefighters went up to the house, shined a flashlight and could see the windows were darkened with smoke, Davis said.

The firefighters kicked in the front door and found the first floor full of smoke. They doused a small fire in the living room and started to search the house for anyone inside as a fan worked to clear the smoke, Tacoma fire spokeswoman Jolene Davis said.

They found McKim and Shantell trapped on the second floor.

“The firefighters had to bring them down,” Davis said. “They were not able to get themselves out.”

Both were taken to area hospitals but reportedly died of their injuries.

The fire was contained to a couch and dog bed in the living room. Investigators determined the fire started after a portable heater ignited combustible materials.

The blaze caused $35,000 damage to the building and its contents.


Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. rawdibob says:

    Condolences to the family and friends Michelle McKim and her son. I wonder where the boy’s father was?

  2. Absolutely tragic! Condolences to the next of kin. This is also a reminder to have a fire plan, and a working detector- the voice recordable ones have been proven to be more effective at waking people from a deep sleep.

  3. JessicaW71970 says:

    So very very tragic, I hope that all of their friends and family can find peace with this. My heart goes out to you…… I am so very sorry for your loss.

  4. alindasue says:

    This last winter, a local fire-station reader board read, “Space heaters need space.” How very true that is.

    My condolences to their family.

  5. ItalianSpring says:

    If there actually were ANY global warming, the heater would not have been necessary and their lives would have been spared. Join me in praying for some won’t you.

  6. ginasgrace says:

    I think a family is hurting right now…..where the father is, is moot. I don’t understand comments like yours…at all.

  7. Maybe it’s God’s way of sending a message..

  8. Eddielowery360 says:

    This was the worst thing to deal with
    People other other news stations are arguing over the “stupidity” of the two who died. It’s disgracefully
    Last year on the 31st my dad gave me a call and her dad was on the phone crying telling me they died in a housefire I don’t even like going to Tacoma anymore
    I saw the news clip at school when a teacher watched it and I didn’t even realize untilly dad called during 5th period
    It was such a tradjedy to loose a lil guy like sham and an amazing mother like mishi
    It still shocks me knowing their gone

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