Still no cause on deadly Pratt house fire

PRATT, Kan. (KWCH) Update - Thursday, Feb. 8:

The Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office says it continues to investigate the house fire in Pratt that killed a mother and her four children.

The fire marshal's office says it "is still following information and awaiting lab results before making an official determination on the cause of the fire that resulted in the deaths of five individuals."

The four children killed in the fire ranged in age from four months to four years old. Their mother, Charee Wheatley, died at a Wichita hospital a couple days after the fire.

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Charee was taken off life support this afternoon after suffering from severe carbon monoxide poisoning.

Her four children, aged 4 months to 4 years died in a house fire Thursday after being trapped in the basement of the home.

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Update - Jan. 29, 4 p.m.

Four days after a deadly house fire in Pratt, and there are still no answers as to how it started.

Bobby Jackson lives a couple houses down from where Charee Wheatley and her four children all lost their lives.

Over the past few days, he's watched investigators come and go - looking for clues as to what may have sparked the fire.

"The whole time they had it blocked off. They had fire trucks here and, you know, bulldozers trying to move some of the awnings that fell down. You know, trying to make it so that they could investigate," says Jackson.

The Kansas Fire Marshal's Office says the cause of the fire is still undetermined. It's waiting on lab results to accurately identify the cause.

Until then, many in the community are focused on helping the family who continues to grieve over the loss of five lives.

"It's a travesty," says Jackson. "Everybody's just tyring to pull together, and they couldn't imagine what they're going through, you know."

The fire marshal's office says there's no definite timeline on when it will know the cause of the fire, but it could be within a couple of days.

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Update - Jan. 28, 4 p.m.

Via Christi confirms to Eyewitness News that Charee Wheatley died on Saturday afternoon.

Charee was taken off life support this afternoon after suffering from severe carbon monoxide poisoning.

Her four children, aged 4 months to 4 years died in a house fire Thursday after being trapped in the basement of the home.

Three other people lived in the home but were able to make it out safely.

Fire investigators are still working to determine a cause.

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Update - Jan. 27, 10 p.m.

A family is grieving the deaths of four children killed in a Pratt house fire Thursday and praying for their mother, Charee Wheatley pulls through at a Wichita hospital.

Meanwhile, firefighters are trying to determine how the fire started. The family says it couldn't get to the mother and her children in the basement of the home. It was firefighters who finally reached them.

"Life is precious and the children that we lost, they were with us all the time, because we all lived (in the Pratt home) as a family," Charee Wheatley's father, Craig Bates says.

Bates and Wheatley's sister, Kristina Morris, are in shock.

Morris was home on the main floor when the fire started Thursday.

She says there was a lot of smoke and it didn't take long for fire to spread to the porch.

Before crews arrived, Morris says an effort was made to break down a door to get to Wheatley and her children, but it ultimately took firefighters to successfully reach them.

Bates showed Eyewitness News the layout of the basement with doors on either end. Firefighters discussed what a basement with a layout like what was in the Pratt home needs for fire escape.

"The big thing is just making sure wherever you are sleeping there is that secondary way to get out through a window," Sedgwick County Division Fire Chief Robert Timmons says.

As firefighters try to find out what caused the fire, Wheatley's family with her at the Wichita hospital.

'We're praying Sissy pulls through, we pray she does. That's all we can do," Bates says.

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Update - Jan. 27, 11 a.m.

The mother of four children killed in a house fire in Pratt on Thursday remains in critical condition at a Wichita hospital.

Investigators for the Pratt Police Department and the Kansas Fire Marshal's Office say Charee Wheatley and her four children, ranging in age from four months to four years old, were trapped in the basement of the home where the fire broke out.

Four others in the home, including Wheatley's sisters and nephews, made it out of the home unharmed.

READ MORE:
Family remember four children killed in Pratt house fire

Fire investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise funds for the family.

A vigil is set to take place in Pratt on Saturday at 5 p.m.

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Update - 3 p.m.

Eyewitness News has learned the names of four children killed in a house fire Thursday morning.

The Pratt Tribune reports Harley, River, Timmy and Reece Wheatley, ranging in age from four months to four years old, were trapped in the basement with their mother, Charee Wheatley when the fire broke out.

The five lived in the home with Charee's two sisters and her nephew. Those three escaped the fire unharmed.

The Tribune reports Charee was flown to a hospital in Wichita with severe burns on the left side of her body.

The home, located in the 200 block of S. Austin, is owned by Chris and Karla Bates, the grandparents of the deceased siblings.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family with funeral and medical costs.

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Update - 12:40 p.m.

Pratt officials say four children died in a morning house fire.

Five people were pulled from a home near Second and Austin Thursday morning. A fifth person remains hospitalized but no update was given on their condition.

The Kansas Fire Marshal is now investigating the deadly fire.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family involved in the deadly fire.

According to the page, a woman and her four children were trapped in the basement when the fire broke out.

Eyewitness News will remain on the scene to learn more about what led up to the tragic fire.


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Firefighters are on the scene of a house fire in Pratt.

Dispatchers say the fire is located at Second and Austin.

We have received several phone calls and Facebook messages about the fire.

One person says two homes are on fire and smoke is blowing across Hwy 54/400.

We have a crew headed to the scene. Stick with us for updates on-air and online.