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Fire at Shawnee home leaves man, 3-year-old dead and three others injured

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- A man and a three-year-old boy were killed in a house fire early Thursday morning. The fire broke out at the home in the 4800 block of Lucille Lane near 49th St. just before 7 a.m. The fire marshal said he believes the adult who died was the boy's grandfather, born in 1951.

Firefighters said that when they arrived at the home it was already engulfed in flames and smoke.

Three people were rescued and transported to the hospital to be treated for injuries, including two elderly women and a 33-year-old man.

Rescuers said they looked inside a bedroom window and saw the 63-year-old man, but they said clutter in the home made it difficult for them to get him out.

"The first in fire crew tried to go in through window," explained Shawnee Fire Marshal Corey Sands. "There was a bed in front of that window that made it very difficult for firefighters to get inside. Once they broke the headboard to that bed, they were able to make entry. The clutter made it difficult for firefighters to get inside, to do the search."

Sands also said all the clutter made it difficult for rescuers to locate the three-year-old boy.

"There were reports that there was still a child inside," Sands said. "Crews frantically looked inside the home, finally found a 3-year-old child inside the home, in a hallway. It looks like he was trying to escape."

Fire investigators say it appears everyone in the house was related.

Sadly, the fire marshal also said he believes there was another fire at this home in the 1980s, when another child in this family was killed. Corey Sands, Shawnee Fire Marshal, said although firefighters have some memory of it, he will confirm their memories in official records.  Two different neighbors also recalled a deadly fire at the home in the 1980s. They said they believed it was also a boy, found in the basement after the fire.

"It's hard for a firefighter to see this," Sands said. "It's hard for anybody to see this. We do have chaplains available for the fire crews. We're going to stick together."

Fire investigators were on scene trying to determine what caused the fire and where it started. They had not yet determined if there were working smoke detectors. The state fire marshal said he will bring in a high-tech 3-d imaging camera to scan the home and give investigators a better idea of the exit path and progression of the fire.