12-year-old boy who died in Cordova fire with 3 others ‘saved lives’

Members of a Cordova, Nebraska, family who died in a house fire are being remembered for their close bonds and loving relationships.

Crystal Vickrey, 39, Brittney Newsome, 19, and Kaden Newsome, 12, were sleeping in their house about 40 miles west of Lincoln when the fire broke out about 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Also killed in the fire was Tiara Schwab, 20, a friend of Brittney’s who was staying the night.

Crystal’s mother, Pam Spies of York, said the fire could have been even more tragic if not for the actions of Kaden, who awoke and began sounding the alarm. He went upstairs “yelling for everyone to get out,” Spies said, before being overcome by smoke.

His efforts allowed his stepfather, Robert “Vic” Vickrey, and brother, Keagan Newsome, 15, to escape. A sister, Breanna Newsome, 17, was staying overnight in Kearney.

“Kaden was the hero because no one would have gotten out if not for him,” Spies said. “That little boy saved lives.”

Spies said the family was close. “Crystal was a wonderful mother, always involved in everything the kids did at school,” she said. “She was there whenever anyone needed her.”

Autopsy results found that the cause of death was smoke inhalation, according to a statement from the State Fire Marshal. Investigators determined that the fire was the result of an electrical failure of an extension cord.

A memorial service will be held for Tiara at 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. John Lutheran Church in Cordova. A memorial service for the Vickrey family will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the old gym at Friend Public School.

Separate memorial funds to aid the Vickrey and Schwab families have been established at First Bank of Utica in Cordova. Donations can be made by mail to P.O. Box 77, Cordova, NE 68330.

Crystal Vickrey attended Bradshaw Public School and graduated in 1998. She and her husband were married in 2009 at the York Walmart where they both worked, Spies said.

“She was an active supporter of the school in Friend and the town’s booster club,” Spies said. “She was active in the Girl Scouts with her daughters.” Her favorite holiday was Christmas. “She wouldn’t let me lift a finger at Christmas,” Spies said.

Brittney graduated from Friend High School in 2018 and was a freshman at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She was a member of the UNK choir and marching band and a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi music sorority.

Kaden was a seventh-grade student at Friend Public School and a member of the Future Farmers of America as well as Boy Scout Troop 212. He enjoyed playing baseball, building with Legos and reading, especially the Harry Potter series.

Tiara graduated in 2017 from Friend High School, where she participated in all of the school choirs. She worked at Casey’s in Crete and loved her co-workers, her family said.

“Tiara always put others before herself, always had a smile for everyone and was best friends with her brother and sisters,” according to a statement from her family. “Tiara loved animals, enjoyed fishing, reading, spending time with her grandmother at the cabin and spending time with her friends.”

Tiara is survived by her parents, Nicole and Ryan; brother, Jacob; and sisters, Shelly and Elyza, all of Cordova.

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