Pratt mother dies after fire that killed 4 children

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Charee Wheatley (left) and River Wheatley Charee Wheatley (left) and River Wheatley
Courtesy Pratt Tribune Courtesy Pratt Tribune
PRATT, Kan. (KAKE) -

Officials at Via Christi St. Francis say a mother has died two days after a fire that claimed the lives of her four children.

Charee Wheatley died Saturday. She had been on life support since the fire at her Pratt home Thursday morning. 

Investigators continue to search for the cause of the fire. The state fire marshal's office says Wheatley and her four children were trapped in the basement when fire ripped through the two-story home. It could be days before they how the cause.

Charee was on life support at a Wichita hospital on Friday, her family at her side and trying to understand what has turned their lives upside down.

"We are doing as best as we can," said Kristina Morris, Charee's aunt. "Its heartbreaking, it really is, because Charee, she was like the glue of our family, and those babies were everything." 

"We don't want to give Charee up, but will she ever be the same, brain damage or not. If there is no brain damage, she lost her babies. How does a mother cope with that?" said Amy Coates, Charee's great aunt. 

Charee was flown to St. Francis Hospital after her home near 2nd and Austin streets caught fire Thursday morning. By the time firefighters arrived, it was too late to save her four children:  Reece, Timmy, River and Harley.

Coats said, "There are four missing and...its going to be remembering when it was one big happy family, because it is never going to be the same. There is never going to be them there."

Each child was remembered Friday afternoon:  Timmy for his big smile and pretty eyes, River for her ability to be happy through anything, Harley was described as the cutest little baby, and Reece for being your typical American boy with high hopes and a little rambunctious 

GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family.

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