Arson Suspected in Ind. Fire; Woman, Baby Die


A woman and her 10-month-old daughter were killed Sunday in an apartment fire in Lawrence.

Investigators found Tracie Shannon and daughter Juliana at about 6:30 p.m. in a fire at an apartment in the 5500 block of Old Colony Road, near 56th Street and Interstate 465.

Firefighters were able to douse the flames quickly, but said the mother and daughter likely died from smoke inhalation.

Jhervon Gunn, who lives next door, said she and her daughter smelled smoke and could hear the baby crying inside.

"I noticed the blinds were down and the blinds at the window were melted," Gunn said. "So I knocked on the door and I saw at the top of the door looked singed."

Investigators said they believe the fire was intentionally set, noting that the fire had two points of origin and that a smoke detector that had been in the main hallway was missing.

"It broke my heart to see the baby like that. I had just seen her the week before, and she was beautiful little girl," Gunn said.

Fighting the blaze was especially difficult for firefighters, many of whom are parents themselves.

"Any fatality is sad with any life taken, but when there's a baby, it compounds that even more," said Lawrence Fire Chief Dino Vatalis.

The fire was contained to one unit of the apartment building.

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