Mom of 5 Dies While Trying to Save Her Children From Fire, 4 Years After Husband Died of Cancer

Kristina Stratton had raised her five children on her own since her husband passed away from cancer four years ago

Photo: Kristina Stratton/Facebook

When a fire broke out inside her two-story Bakersfield, California, home on Thursday, Kristina Stratton did not hesitate to rush inside to save her children.

Stratton, a 38-year-old mother of five, had gone to see a movie with one of her older daughters when one of her children called with the horrifying news that their house was on fire and they were still inside, the Bakersfield Californian reported. With emergency services still on their way, Stratton drove back and quickly ran inside the smoke-filled home to try and rescue her children. But, in the chaos, Stratton didn’t notice that the children were already climbing out of a second-story window and making their way onto the roof of a nearby RV to safety, her sister, Sarah Parks, told the newspaper.

While the four children escaped with their lives, Stratton tragically died in the incident. Her body was later found next to the family’s dog, Duncan, who the children said alerted them to the fire by biting one of them on the arm, according to the Californian.

In a statement, the Kern County Fire Department said the children experienced smoke inhalation and other minor injuries.

“Four minors living in the home were able to evacuate the home and suffered minor to moderate injuries from smoke inhalation,” the department said.

“All four minors were treated and transported to a local hospital by Hall Ambulance. Firefighters from Kern County Fire Department and Bakersfield City Fire Department continued the search for other potential patients while extinguishing the fire,” they continued.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“I’m one of those people who needs to know,” Parks told the Californian. “I’ve been trying to piece it together.”

Stratton’s death leaves all five children without their mother and makes her three youngest children orphans. Four years ago, the father of three of her children died of cancer, according to CNN.

“It’s just unspeakable heartbreak to have to do something like that when you lose a loved one, so you can just imagine the raw emotions that are there,” family friend, Angelo Frazier, told KERO-TV.

A GoFundMe page for the family has raised more than $38,000 in just four days, which will be used to cover the funeral service and to care for the children. Parks, Stratton’s sister, is now the legal guardian of the youngest kids, ages 8, 9 and 10.

RELATED VIDEO: 8-Year-Old Girl Saves Two Brothers from Devastating Fire That Killed Six Other Siblings

On Friday, a day after the fire, the Kern County Fire Department posted a statement to Facebook from their interim fire chief, David Witt.

“As your Kern County Interim Fire Chief, I never want to wake up in the middle of the night to hear about someone dying because of a fire,” his statement read. “The tragic events of last night make our community sit up and take notice.”

In the statement, Witt pressed for families to make sure they set up a fire escape plan for their home, and walk through all possible exits and escape routes in case of an emergency.

Frazier said Stratton was someone who was loved by her community.

“She had a lot of people who loved her,” Frazier told CNN. “She loved her kids, her family, God. She loved life. She was just that kind of person.”

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