On June 30, 2014, at approximately 9:30 PM, Clinton County 911 received a report of a structure fire at 918 Clintonville Road, Harkness, New York, located in the town of AuSable.
New York State Troopers responded to the residence along with the Keeseville and Peru Fire Departments and several other area fire and rescue personnel. Upon arrival they found the home engulfed in fire. Firefighters immediately began fire fighting efforts and were eventually able to control and extinguish the fire.
Subsequent investigation revealed that at the time of the fire, Penny M. Stone, age 23, was at the residence providing child care for three children, Tucker J. Burnham, age 6, Payden A. Burnham, age 4, and Raelynn S. Burnham, age 6 months. Also at the residence were Stone’s two children, ages 2 and 4. While caring for the children, Stone discovered a bedroom in flames and was unsuccessful in her attempts to extinguish the flames. Stone was able to flee the fire with her two children and seek help from family members who reside next door. A relative was able to enter the home and rescue Raelynn Burnham from the fire. Efforts to rescue Tucker J. Burnham and Payden A. Burnham were unsuccessful due to the intense heat and smoke.
Raelynn Burnham was transported to Champlain Valley Physician’s Hospital, and then transferred to the Shriner’s Childrens’ Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts 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 the deceased to the Champlain Valley Physician’s Hospital morgue. On July 1, 2014, autopsies were conducted on Tucker J. Burnham and Payden A. Burnham, at Champlain Valley Physician’s Hospital. The autopsies was performed by Doctor Jolie Rodriguez M.D. The cause and manner of death are pending further investigation.
The New York 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, AuSable Forks and South Plattsburgh Fire Departments, and Peru and CVPH EMS also responded.