July 2, 2014

2 boys dead in Harkness fire

HARKNESS — Victor and Starr Burnham’s two young sons died and their baby girl was seriously injured in a fire at their Harkness home Monday night.

Tucker was 6 years old, and Payden was 4.

Six-month-old Raelynn, who was rescued from the blaze, was listed in critical condition Tuesday at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Boston, State Police said.

Clinton County dispatchers got the 911 call at about 9:30 p.m.

When troopers and fire personnel arrived at the mobile home at 318 Clintonville Road in the Town of AuSable hamlet, they found it “engulfed in fire,” police said.


Penny Stone, 23, was babysitting the three children, police said, and her two children, ages 2 and 4, were also there.

Stone had seen flames in a bedroom and tried to put them out, police said.

But she was unable to douse the fire and fled the burning home with her two children. She rushed next door to the home of Cynthia Burnham, the children’s grandmother, police said.

Cynthia was able to save Raelynn from the flames, though she was injured, but police said the intense heat and smoke kept her and other family members from reaching Tucker and Payden.


Coty Santose, who lives across the street, saw the mobile home was on fire before authorities arrived.

Santose said he saw people breaking the windows, trying to get inside and rescue the children.

“There was no way to get in there.”

After firefighters extinguished the blaze, the bodies of the two boys were found inside in the bedroom area, said State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lt. John Coryea.

Clinton County Coroner David Donah authorized transport of their bodies to CVPH Medical Center, where autopsies were scheduled for Tuesday.

The results would likely be released today, Coryea said.

Police said Raelynn was taken to CVPH and then transferred to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Boston.

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