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CANTON -- A 3-year-old girl is dead as the result of a house fire in the 2100 block of Penn Place NE in Canton.

Investigators say the fire started around noon and quickly spread through the home, of a friend of the child's family.

Fire fighters say 35-year-old LaTasha Brown was home with her 12-year-old daughter, a 13-year-old boy, and three-year-old TaKenya Harper, the daughter ofBrown's close friend.

All four were upstairs in the apartment when the fire started.

According to a Canton investigator, the fire appears to have started in the kitchen after food was left cooking on the stove.

When Brown smelled the smoke she went downstairs to investigate but was unable to get back up the stairs.

She called for the children to come down the stairs, but the older children were unable to reach the little girl to bring her to safety.

Neighbors say Brown tried to go back up for the toddler, but the fire was too large.

Brown and the older children were not hurt.

When fire fighters arrived, it took about twenty minutes to get the fire under control. Firefighters say power lines overhead hampered their ability to put out the fire.

Fire fighters say TaKenya Harper died of smoke inhalation.

According to the fire prevention officer, there were no working smoke detectors inside the apartment. The smoke detector on the first floor where the fire started, had not been serviced in five years, fire fighters said.

The Canton Red Cross is assisting two families now homeless after the fire.

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