• Toddler, woman killed in house fire identified

    Updated:

    PALM BAY, Fla. - Officials identified the two as Shenea Gates, 27, and her daughter, 2-year-old Rhilynn Gates.

    The fire broke out at a home on Foxglove Avenue Southwest in Palm Bay.

    Palm Bay Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez said a Waste Management worker making his rounds Friday morning saw smoke coming from a home in Palm Bay and called 911.


    Photos: Palm Bay fatal house fire 


    Firefighters found the woman and child inside the burning home. Palm Bay officials said firefighters pulled the two from the house and attempted to revive them, but were not successful.

    Officials said the fire, which appeared to have started in the laundry room, filled the house with smoke.

    According to fire officials, the smoke alarms in the house were not working and both victims were asleep when the fire started.

    Officials believe that Shenea Gates woke up and opened the laundry room door to find the source of the smoke. They said she was overcome by smoke and flames and attempted to make it back to a bedroom but was not able to escape.

    "This is going to affect our community once again. You just don't know. It makes you hold your kids closer at night and appreciate life. I'll be praying to God he helps heal the families," resident Jason Howell said.

    Investigators from the fire marshal's office said the fire appears to be accidental.

    Channel 9's Melonie Holt is covering this story and will have the latest details on Eyewitness News at 6.

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