Deadly House Fire Claims Life of Toddler

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CANTON, Ohio -- A family devastated...a neighborhood in shock. A 3-year-old girl dies when a fire races through a home.

Neighbors placed stuffed animals on the charred porch of a duplex on Penn Place in northeast Canton.

"I feel so bad, I mean, it hurts me in my heart so bad that a child...just hurts me, trying to fight back my tears," said neighbor Terri Jones.

Around 12:30 Tuesday p.m., flames tore through the home.

Investigators say Latasha Brown, 35, was upstairs with her 12-year-old daughter, and a 13-year-old boy and her niece Takenila Harper, 3.

"The residents said that they were cooking in the kitchen and we are right now taking a look at the kitchen and it does look right now that the fire did start around the stove area," said Capt. Lorenzo Bagley, with the Canton fire department.

Captain Bagley says Latasha and the older children managed to escape the flames, but they could not get to Takenila. Neighbors say the scene was heart-wrenching.

"Tasha made it across the street, she was collapsed on the ground and said there was a young child in there that was 3," said a neighbor named Edyie who would only give her first name.

"I think it's the most horrible thing you can see...it's horrifying for the fire department to have to go in and retrieve," she said.

The flames melted siding on the home next door.

This neighbor says it raged quickly...she says she had just walked past the home seconds earlier and saw nothing wrong.

"Walked down three houses to my mother's, couldn't smell smoke, looked back and Tasha's house was fully involved with the flames coming out the roof, yelled at my grandson to call 911," said Edyie.

"It was just really sad to see this happening to a family that you just...I am lost for words, I really am, I just can't say anything to help them get their children back, or child back, it's really sad," said neighbor Christina Wendling.

"The city is praying for them in their loss and we hope that they will find comfort and if there's anything that the city can do, truly to help, we're willing to do so," said Canton city councilwoman Chris Smith.

The Red Cross is helping both displaced families, one with food and clothing, the other with food, clothing and a place to stay overnight.

Fire investigators say the home did not have any working smoke detectors.