First responders recall horror of fatal Big Lake fire

April 15, 2019 06:27 PM

It was just after 5:30 a.m. Friday when Big Lake Assistant Fire Chief Seth Hansen was paged to a house fire with children inside.

He drove straight from his house, and jumped out of his truck to find two police officers already trying to kick down the front door to the residence.


The fire happened at a residence on the 19000 block of Karen Lane. Rescue personnel were able to get into the home and rescue five people, including four children. 

But two of the children taken to the hospital died. They were later identified as Landon Michael Parker, 2, and Spencer Rae Parker, 1.

The boy's father, 36-year-old Anthony Robert Parker, whom investigators believe intentionally started the blaze, also later died.

RELATED: Father dies from injuries in Big Lake house fire, death toll at 3

First resonders debriefed Sunday, knowing they did all they could. But they still can't help but replay that morning's horrific events.

"I tried to get low to get to the back bedroom where the officer told me the two young children were," Hansen recalls.

But heavy black smoke pushed him back outside until a fire truck arrived with air packs. That's when he went back in.

"Me and the other firefighter made entry to the back hallway to the children's room and located the 2-year-old and 1-year-old," he said. 

"(We) picked them up and brought them out."

RELATED: Sheriff's office: 2 children dead after Big Lake house fire, father suspected of starting fire

As Hansen passed the young boy he was carrying off to paramedics, he said all he could do was pray.

"Words can't describe it," he said with tears in his eye. "You train for these things all the time, but you don't train for babies. It's heart-wrenching."

Body cameras captured every moment of two Big Lake police officers also trying to help.

"My one officer's face was black with soot, so I knew he had been in a serious fire," Big Lake Police Chief Joel Scharf said.

Scharf said the video shows true heroism from everyone involved.

"We had true heroes get out of their cars and risk their lives to get people out of that house," he said. "And if they hadn't done the things they did, and moved as swiftly as they had, there's no doubt in my mind we would have had two more deceased children in the house."

The incident left a deep mark on all who responded.

"In my 25 years in law enforcement, I have never seen a double-homicide that involves two infants in such a callous manner," Scharf said. 

"We go to things, and we can fix it and go home," Hansen added. "This one we can't fix."

The deadly fire has impacted the entire city of Big Lake - a community of 11,000 people. 

A GoFundMe account has been set up in memory of Spencer and Landon.

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Jessica Miles

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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