Family facing 'tremendous pain' after toddler dies in fire

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Ayleen Gomez, 2, died when she was trapped in an apartment fire on Monday in southwest Houston. (KTRK)

All day, people have been dropping off balloons and flowers at The Landing apartments in southwest Houston.

The memorial for Ayleen Gomez is growing, with people lighting candles for the little girl who died too soon.

The 2-year-old girl had such a sweet personality, her aunt said. She spoke through tears today on behalf of the girl's mother, who was too distraught to say anything publicly.

She says little Ayleen, her older brother and mother were asleep yesterday afternoon when they woke up to the smell of heavy smoke.

The mother told us she ran outside for help, and that the smoke and flames were too great when she returned.

Toddler killed when 3-alarm fire erupts at SW Houston apartment complex
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Eyewitnesses said they heard an explosion right before a deadly apartment fire in southwest Houston.

The family claims there was no working smoke detector or fire extinguisher inside.

"It's more than a tremendous pain that the family is going through," Ayleen's uncle Abel Aviles said. "Something unexpected."

The fire ripped through two buildings, destroying 20 units in all. It took more than 100 firefighters to put out the three-alarm fire.

Today some people returned to attempt to save what they could. Investigators have not yet said what started the fire.

In addition to the family's claim that there were no smoke detectors or fire extinguishers, they also say there were recently a number of electrical issues here.

A manager with The Landing apartments said she was never made aware of any electrical issues. She insists there were working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in each unit.

A GoFundMe page has been launched to help the family with Ayleen's funeral expenses.

Houston police are looking into the cause of the fire with arson investigators.

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A family is mourning the loss of a little girl after a devastating fire in southwest Houston.

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