An extension cord caused the Shawnee house fire that killed two people, including a child, on Thursday, investigators said Saturday.
Officials from the Shawnee Fire Department said the fire in the 4800 block of Lucille Lane started in a family room on the north side of the house and spread quickly. Survivors confirmed they heard smoke alarms activate on the main floor and in the basement.
Three-year-old Christian Young and his great-uncle, Ronnie Walkup, 63, died from smoke inhalation. Three other family members were injured and taken to the University of Kansas Hospital. Two have been released, but a 91-year-old woman remained hospitalized Saturday.
During the fire, people inside were unable to open the basement door and front screen door, which had locks that require a key from the inside to unlock. Neighbors forced both doors open and rescued three people.
Investigators also said an attic fan and medical oxygen stored in the family room contributed to the fire.
“Our hearts are heavy for the victims and their family during this unimaginable time,” Shawnee Fire Marshal Corey Sands said in a statement. “We ask all citizens to check their smoke alarms on a regular basis and ensure that they have clear and accessible exits in case of an emergency.”