By Jeff Wagner


BIG LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) – After losing their two siblings in a deadly house fire, relatives say the two children who survived are recovering.

The fire happened Friday in Big Lake in the 19000 block of Karen Lane.

(credit: Jim Tully)

Two-year-old Landon Parker and 1-year-old Spencer Parker died. Investigators believe their father, Anthony Parker, started the fire. He died Saturday from his injuries. Relatives say Anthony is not the father of the two surviving children.

With the sun shining Sunday afternoon and snow piles disappearing around the Parker home, it’s a stark contrast to just two days earlier when firefighters and police rushed in to save five people trapped inside.

That 48-hour stretch is really just one tragic blur to Jim Tully.

“The first day I think most of us, all of us, were too numb to do anything other than stumble through it. And it’s still long periods where it’s all we can do,” he said.

Tully’s niece, Jessica Parker, is the mother of the four children who were in the home.

“She’s obviously devastated. She’s lost two of her children. She’s lost the father of the children. Lost her house,” he said.

Tully said Spencer had just celebrated her birthday a week earlier. Landon was set to turn 3 this year. He wishes he could have gotten to know them better like he has their older siblings – ages 7 and 9 – who remain in the hospital.

“The teachers from Big Lake Public Schools were down at the hospital with the kids today,” Tully said as his voice trembled. “That kind of extensive outreach is just beyond anything we would have expected. It was wonderful.”

Tully is trying to appreciate those moments since he knows the difficult ones are far from over.

“My sister is an Episcopal priest. She baptized the two babies last summer. And she’s now on her way home to conduct the funeral,” he said.

Tully said Jessica was working multiple jobs and going to school, making the hospital bills and funeral arrangements even tougher to handle.

The Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are handling the investigation.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family. Tully said they’re grateful for everyone who has already made a donation.

Jeff Wagner

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