Local News

July 3, 2014

Babysitter said she tried to save kids

HARKNESS — Penny Stone said she tried desperately to save her nephews, who died in a horrific fire Monday night, and their critically burned baby sister.

Penny was babysitting for her brother and sister-in-law, Victor and Starr Burnham, that day.

She tucked nephews Tucker, 6, and Payden, 4, into their beds in separate rooms that had been created by dividing one bedroom.

Their little sister, 6-month-old Raelynn, was in her crib.

All was peaceful as Penny sat in the living room of the Burnhams’ mobile home, watching a movie with her two kids, Skyler, 3, and Madison, 2, lying on the floor near her.

“The kids were all in bed; I thought they were all asleep,” she told the Press-Republican on Wednesday.

“Then I heard Tucker yelling. He said, ‘Aunt Penny, please help me; there’s a fire.’”

She ran to his bedroom and opened the door.

“Flames and smoke came at my face. The bed, walls and floor were all on fire. I tried so hard to get to him, and I couldn’t.”

Penny, who is 22, pushed open the door of the bathroom, next door to Tucker’s room, and filled a pan with water.

“I tried to pour it on the fire to make a path to get to him,” she said.

“I tried so hard to save him, and I let him down.”

She stepped out on the back porch but said she didn’t, as police reports indicated, run next door with her kids to a relative’s house.

“I didn’t go next door. I stood on the porch screaming, ‘Fire! I need help. Tucker’s room is on fire.’

“Everybody came running all at once,” she said of the boys’ grandmother Cynthia Burnham and other relatives. 

Cynthia was able to save Raelynn, who suffered burns and is in Shriners Children’s Hospital in Boston.

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