HARKNESS - Two brothers, age 7 and 4, died in a house fire here Monday night.
It was about 9:30 p.m. when a Clinton County 911 dispatcher received a call about a structure fire at 918 Clintonville Road, about 4.5 miles north of AuSable Valley Middle/High School in the tiny hamlet of Harkness, in the town of AuSable.
State troopers, the Keeseville and Peru fire departments, and and other area fire and rescue personnel responded to the home and found it engulfed in flames, according to a state police press release Tuesday. Firefighters were eventually able to control and extinguish the fire.
Subsequent investigation revealed that Penny M. Stone, 23, had been at the residence providing child care for three children: 7-year-old Tucker J. Burnham, 4-year-old Payden A. Burnham and 6-month-old Raelynn S. Burnham. Also at the residence were Stone's two children, ages 2 and 4. While caring for the children, Stone discovered a bedroom on fire and was unsuccessful in trying to extinguish the flames. Stone was able to flee the fire with her two children and seek help from family members who live next door. A relative was able to enter the home and rescue Raelynn, the infant. Efforts to rescue Tucker and Payden were unsuccessful due to the intense heat and smoke, police said.
Raelynn Burnham was transported to Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh and then transferred to the Shriner's Children's Hospital in Boston, where she is listed in critical condition.
After the fire was extinguished, the two deceased children were located inside the residence. Clinton County Coroner David F. Donah responded to the scene and authorized removal of their bodies to the CVPH morgue, where autopsies are scheduled for today.
The state police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Clinton County fire investigators and the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control are investigating the cause and origin of the fire.
Clinton County Emergency Services, the AuSable Forks and South Plattsburgh fire departments, and Peru and CVPH emergency medical services also responded.