Sunday morning fires in Midvale and northern Davis County took the lives of two toddlers, killed one mother and left another extensively burned and in serious condition after trying unsuccessfully to rescue her young son.
The Midvale blaze was reported about 7:17 a.m. in a four-unit townhouse complex at 147 Tiffany Town Drive. Witnesses told arriving firefighters they heard cries for help from inside the burning two-story building.Firefighters attempting to get inside the building were rebuffed by intense heat and flames, and it wasn't until after the fire was doused that firefighters found the bodies of a mother and son in an upstairs bedroom.
The Davis fire was reported about 8:24 a.m., and fire crews from Syracuse, Layton and Clearfield responded to a burning house at 1738 S. 40th West, an isolated rural area near the Great Salt Lake west of Syracuse.
Witnesses said Heidi Painter, age unknown, was able to get a 4-year old daughter out of the house safely and then returned to try to save a 2-year-old son.
Paramedics found Painter outside the home seriously burned and the home fully engulfed in flames. The heat was too intense for rescue workers to enter the building. The boy's body was later recovered by firefighters in the living room area where the blaze is believed to have started.
The dead were tentatively identified as Brandie L. Melvin, 20, and Anthony Melvin, 3, of Midvale, and Randy Painter, 2, Syracuse.
"We believe the fire started in the living room and was likely caused by children playing with matches or a lighter," Davis County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Olson said.
Olson said he could only get sketchy details from 4-year-old Brandy Painter. "She appears to understand what happened, but I don't know if its the trauma or that she just isn't able to communicate with me."
Meanwhile, it will likely be two days before Olson can question the mother. Painter was taken to nearby Humana Hospital Davis North and then flown by helicopter to the University Hospital's burn unit where she is listed in serious but stable condition Monday. A hospital spokesman said the woman received second- and third-degree burns to her arms and upper torso area and also inhalation burns to her lungs.
Olson said the adobe home was destroyed. Olson said investigation is continuing and that Randy's body has been sent to the state medical examiners for determination of an exact cause of death.
Midvale firefighters were forced to concentrate on confining the fire and protecting other buildings in the area. The bodies were found after the blaze was out and rescue workers could enter the building safely.
Investigation into the cause of that fire is continuing.