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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 |
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.


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