By Stephanie RossNBC NewsSIOUX CENTER, Iowa —
The items in the junk yard may be meaningless to some, but what's left of one 15-passenger van was hard for mother of two Ellie Pieper to fathom.
"That was my kids inside there, and all that is left is a steel shell. There is nothing left of it," Pieper said.
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Friday afternoon, her children, Carlee and Jack, were riding in a van driven by babysitter, Tara Dekkers.
"We heard a pop, which had a backfire sound, I guess you'd call it. And, then very quickly the van filled up with smoke," Dekkers said.
Dekkers pulled the van over and unloaded her precious cargo, seven kids, ages 1 to 6.