AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- A 4-year-old girl died and two other people were injured in a fire Wednesday afternoon in west suburban Aurora.
Firefighters responded to a fire in a four-unit townhouse in the 1800-block of Carnation Court on the city's west side around 1:57 p.m., according to the Aurora Fire Department.
The girl's mother managed to escape the flames with her other daughter and ran out screaming for help. Two men working on a house across next door ran out to try and help.
"We tried everything we could possibly do, but the smoke and the heat was too much," said Rory Hansen.
But there was nothing they could do. Firefighters arrived moments later, but the shooting flames and thick black smoke kept them from entering as well.
"Eventually I didn't hear the baby no more and I knew it wasn't good," Hansen said.
Thursday night, the little girl's loved ones can't believe she's gone.
"She literally was a ray of sunshine," said Patience Dougherty, a family friend of the 4-year-old girl, who was identified as Ryan March.
Autopsy results released by the Kane County Coroner on Friday found that Ryan died of smoke inhalation.
"She loved her baby sister," Dougherty said of Ryan. "From the minute she was in the belly, she loved her baby sister so much."
That sister, 5-month-old Jaime, is now recovering from burns at a hospital. The girls' mother, Sadie, also suffered burns in the fire that gutted the family's town home.
Investigators believe the fire started in the first floor living room, but they have yet to determine what caused it.
"Firefighters were forced to fight the fire from the exterior before entering the burning home," Aurora Fire Marshall Javan Cross said.
It's unclear whether the home had a working smoke detector, but the blaze apparently spread so quickly there was little time to escape and nothing neighbors could do.
Dougherty set up a GoFundMe to help the family after this tragedy.
"I just want to pray my little heart out and everybody else, just to help them move forward," she said.
4-year-old girl killed, 2 others injured in Aurora townhouse fire
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