Parents: Older brother set fire that took 2-year-old’s life

Posted at 6:13 PM, Feb 06, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-08 15:25:11-05

PETERSBURG, VA (WTVR) – Cecil Yates tried multiple times to save his two-year-old daughter from their burning trailer home in Petersburg, but the smoke and flames were just too much. Also igniting fierce pain in the family is that the fire was caused by their own son.

Firefighters found little Shea Shea Yates dead in her bedroom early Monday morning. Cecil said that the fire burned down the trailer in just 6 minutes.

Cecil and Shea’s mother Wendy Peatree said that the fire was a preventable tragedy.

The couple’s 7-year-old son has admitted to police that he started the fire with a lighter and a blanket. They also said that this behavior is part of a pattern.

“We’ve tried to get our son help,” said Peatree. “He’s set fire to our neighbors trailer a few months ago, on Christmas night he left in the middle of the night  and rode his bike up 460 for four miles.”

“He also has been cruel to animals and killed them,” claimed Peatree.

According to the couple, their son is getting help at Tuckers Mental Institution.

A candlelight prayer vigil was held Monday night in front of the mobile home.

Sixty people from the community gathered to release balloons and pray for little Shea Shea Yates.

The community passed around a bucket for donations. The Red Cross is helping the family find a place to stay.Friends of the family told CBS 6 they planned to establish a fund to raise money so the family can replace some items destroyed in the fire.

We will pass along that information once it becomes official.