Shawnee family faces terrible loss when two more family members die in deadly fire 25 years after first

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- On September 22, 1989, a Shawnee neighborhood was shaken by the death of a child in a fire.

"There was a fire in that house and the little boy that died was in the basement," remembered Carl Howe, a neighbor.

Now, almost 26 years later, the same house caught fire Thursday morning, killing a three-year-old boy and his 63-year-old great uncle. The three-year-old was identified as Christian N. Young, and the 63-year-old identified as Ronnie L. Walkup.

Two elderly women and a man in his 30s survived.  Firefighters were called in at about 7 a.m. and had to rescue the two women from the home, encountering some difficulty because clutter in the home stalled their efforts.

"She's lost, you know, a grandson and another, she has lost her son and another possible grandson," said Howe, speaking of the woman who lived in the home and built her family's life in the house at 48th and Lucille in Shawnee.

Some neighbors say the same family has lived in the home for 40 years. Howe says the family is made up of a grandmother, son and daughter, and the daughter's seven boys. All of them grew up in the house.

Shawnee neighbor Carl Howe

Shawnee neighbor Carl Howe

Howe said it was the youngest of the seven children, a four-year-old boy who died in the first fire. For the past 25 years, the porch of the house has been a memorial to the boy who perished in the fire.

"That was in honor of Cody. He loved Christmas, so they kept up Christmas lights and ornaments all year long for Cody, who passed away, "Howe said.

Howe recalls trying to help the family in the aftermath of the fire, bringing the kids over to his house for awhile.

"We turned on the TV to a cartoon channel and put out some... a bowl of candy on the coffee table and just let them unwind that way," said Howe.

The fire marshal is investigating how the latest fire started. They are bringing 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.

"We're going to find out what caused this fire, we're going to find out why the people were not able to escape," said Corey Sands, Shawnee Fire Marshal.

Shawnee house fire