Watch out for ponding along I-35 near West Pennway

Family blames arson as possible cause of fatal house fire

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- investigators are trying to figure out the cause of a fire that killed a beloved grandmother inside a Kansas City, Mo. residence, Sunday.

The house fire, which was reported by neighbors, started at 72nd and Park at about 3:30 in the morning. Now, only the gutted out shell of a house remains where the fire was.

"It was fully involved. We had to go to a defensive attack because it was unsafe to enter the residence to fight the fire," said James Garrett, with the Kansas City, Mo. Fire Department.

When fire fighters were finally able to go in, they discovered the body of a woman in the front room where they believe the fire started. Dozens of family members are grieving the loss of the woman, 56-year-old Shirley President.

Friends and family of president began to show up immediately, mourning the woman they say had 11 brothers and sisters, and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews who all loved her.

"Shirley, she was really beautiful.  She just tried to change her life and get back to God and try to get her life together. She was doing good," said President’s sister, Delores Harris.

Family believes there must have been foul play. Investigators have been picking through what is left of the house to figure out the source of the fire. They even brought in accelerant dogs to help with the search.

"We don't know what to believe at this point. We have police, bomb arson on the scene. We have homicide on the scene as well as our investigators.  They are going to do their due diligence to comb through and get exactly what we have here,” said Garrett.

"Whoever did it, I hope they come forward.  She didn’t have any enemies.  Everybody loved her. I don't understand what happened.  She didn't have to die like this," said Harris.

As part of the investigation an autopsy will be done on the victim to try and determine the cause of death. Officials have not yet ruled this arson.

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