Infant dies when idling truck fills with smoke

Posted: Sunday, December 24, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A baby died and his 2-year-old sister was critically injured when an idling truck filled with smoke, Alaska State Troopers said.

The baby, 7-month-old Christopher Bryan Spencer, was pronounced dead Friday at Valley Hospital in Palmer. His sister, Shakai, was in critical but stable condition Saturday at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, said Sgt. Rae Arno.

The tragedy occurred when the children's mother, 22-year-old Rachael Scarborough of Big Lake, stopped briefly at the Meadow Lakes home of the children's grandmother. Scarborough left the engine running in the truck and went inside the house. In the meantime, the cab filled with black smoke.

''She pulled up to the house, ran inside for a few minutes and came out, and the vehicle was on fire,'' Arno said. The interior was ''black with smoke,'' she said.

Scarborough screamed and Welborn's boyfriend, Jeffrey Sullivan, 40, ran out of the house. From opposite sides of the pickup, Scarborough freed the girl and Sullivan grabbed the baby.

''They started CPR on the 7-month-old in the house,'' Arno said.

The 1985 pickup had an extended cab. Shakai was belted in the seat in the back. Christopher was restrained in an infant car seat. Both children were burned.

The tragedy was the second for Scarborough. She lost a 2-year-old boy in 1998 in an accident on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway four days before Christmas when a car driven by the child's aunt struck a moose and collided with a van.

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