BELLEVUE, Wash. - Fire investigators have yet to pinpoint the case of a house fire that killed a 3-year-old boy.
Lt. Richard Burke, of the Bellevue Fire Department, confirmed the boy was trapped inside the home in the Lake Hills neighborhood.
Firefighters battled heat and flames on both floors of the duplex to reach the boy. He was rushed to Harborview Medical Center but he didn't survive.
"This is a firefighter's nightmare, to get here a little bit too late," said Burke. "There was just too much heat and smoke... that we couldn't get here quick enough."
The boy's mother and another woman made it out safely after a neighbor put a ladder up to the second floor.
Burke said late Monday the fire started in the garage, in one half of the duplex and spread up through a the main floor. He said a large amount of paper and furniture added fuel to the fire.
The home is believed to be a rental. Bellevue city records indicate it has been cited four times for litter and unsafe housing conditions dated back to 2002, but all of those cases were resolved.
It isn't yet known if the home had working smoke detectors.
Firefighters say it appeared the home may have housed a dog breeding operation.
And that is just one factor investigators are exploring as they look into how the fire started.