ATLANTA - The mother whose 3-month-old daughter died in a house fire in northwest Atlanta has also died, FOX 5 News has learned Tuesday.
The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office identified the mother as 28-year-old Rhonda Johnson. She was critically burned in the Thursday morning fire that killed her daughter, 3-month-old Dionysis Christian.
Members of the Greater New Hope Baptist Church, which is near where the fire happened, held a vigil Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in memory of the two victims.
Firefighters received a call around 2 a.m. Thursday about a fire at an abandoned home. According to officials, flames were shooting out of the front door and heavy smoke was coming from the roof when they arrived at the scene.
"We got here as soon as possible," Sergeant Cortez Stafford said. "We have a station about a mile away. We were here within 3-4 minutes."
Firefighters said it took them about 20 minutes to get the fire under control, and during an initial sweep of the home, they found a woman in a bathroom.
"She had severe burns, but was breathing when she was being transported to hospital," Stafford said.
Firefighters said during a second sweep of the home, they made a heartbreaking discovery.
"We found an infant deceased," Stafford told FOX 5.
Fire investigators confirm the woman was homeless and neighbors said she and her boyfriend have used the abandoned home for shelter at night for about a month. Still others said they had no idea the woman was even staying in the home.
"It's so sad because if I hadn't known she was in that condition I would have referred her to one of the shelters that help women and children get back on their feet. You just never know what people are going through," said Lisa Roberts, who saw the woman from time to time.
"It's still early on," Stafford said. "We are still investigating the cause."
Investigators have not yet determined if the fire was an act of arson or an accident.
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