Father, daughter killed in Fox Island house fire

by: Alison Grande Updated:

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FOX ISLAND, Wash. - Friday morning at 8am fire investigators will go back inside the Fox Island home to recover the body of Dr. Thomas Babson.

Babson and his 8 year-old daughter died in the house fire.

When smoke and flames started tearing through a Fox Island home on Wednesday night, a mother and one of her daughters were able to get out.

A neighbor then ran into the burning house to rescue another 8-year-old boy.  

"I ran down there yelling, 'is everybody out?  Is everybody out?'  And there was a gentleman pulling a little boy out of the front door," Glenn Garnett told KIRO-7

Then, the flames erupted in massive intense columns and a father and his 8-year-old daughter still inside had no chance of escape.

Gig Harbor Fire Chief Eric Waters said, "One of the first crews that went inside described it as a jet of fire inside the building."

Dr. Thomas Babson was killed in the fire trying to save his daughter Alice, who was also trapped and killed inside the house. 

Family friend, Dave Holsinger, said Babson was a remarkable man.

"Tom was an exemplary guy, retired Air Force colonel, ER doc, reserve deputy sheriff of Pierce County," Holsinger said.

In addition to working as medical officer on the Pierce County SWAT team,  Dr. Babson worked in the ER at several hospitals including St Anthony's in Gig Harbor, where staff are mourning.

Hospital spokesman Scott Thompson told KIRO-7, "I think everybody is shocked over the tragic loss of Dr. Babson and his daughter."

Grief counselors were also brought in to help Alice's heartbroken friends at St. Nicholas Catholic School in Gig Harbor. Late Thursday afternoon, a medic unit carrying the body of Alice Babson was escorted from the house by Pierce County deputies. 

By Thursday night, the body of Dr. Babson had not yet been located.  Areas of the house are too dangerous to enter.  An  excavator will be used to remove portions of the remaining structure so firefighters can safely recover Dr. Babson's body on Friday morning.

Long-time friend Holsinger said the tragedy at the home is truly devastating.

"Loss of a child's life, loss of a dear friend, and this is gonna mar the family for the rest of their lives, I think," he said.

There will be a prayer service at St. Nicholas Catholic School in Gig Harbor on Friday at 5:30 pm.