Etowah County Sheriff: 9-year-old boy killed, 3 others injured - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Etowah County Sheriff: 9-year-old boy killed, 3 others injured in mobile home fire in Keener community

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A mobile home fire in Etowah County Monday night claimed the life of a 9-year-old boy and injured three other people, including two children. (abc3340.com) A mobile home fire in Etowah County Monday night claimed the life of a 9-year-old boy and injured three other people, including two children. (abc3340.com)
ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. - A nine-year-old boy died and three others suffered injuries in a mobile home fire in the Keener community Monday night.

Callister Atchley died in his home on Highway 11 North near Attalla.  The fire started around 10 p.m.

Investigators said there will be an autopsy at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Huntsville to determine the exact cause of death.

Ambulances took Atchley's brother and sister to a nearby hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.  A helicopter carried Atchley's mother, 33-year-old Jennifer Bates, to UAB Hospital in Birmingham.

"We watched the helicopter land up here behind us and knew that something horrific was going on," neighbor Rita Phillips said.

Investigators said Bates is in a medically induced coma.

"It may be four or five days before they are able to talk to her about what actually happened," deputy Jason Argo said.

"The four-year-old [boy] and the 10 year old girl, they're both released to family members right now."

The State Fire Marshal's Office and the Etowah County Arson Task force are working together to determine the cause of the fire.  The investigation is ongoing.

The Alabama Fire Marshal's Office and the Etowah County Arson Task Force are continuing to investigate the fire.

Several neighbors said they did not know the child or his family, but they are grieving the loss.

"I was real upset.  That's such a sad thing to lose a loved one and especially a child," Rita Phillips said.

"The fear that must have been going through his mind.  That's just heartbreaking."

She said Bates and her children moved in three or four years ago, and occasionally saw them in passing on Highway 11.  Other neighbors said they sometimes saw Bates selling flowers at area trade days, but Phillips said the family mostly kept to themselves.

"I never have had the opportunity to get to know them.  We are a close knit community, but we don't butt into people's business until we see a need," she said said.

Phillips said there is a definite need now, and she expects the community to come together to help the family through this difficult time.  She said the community likes to take care of each other and be close when they can.

Some of the people who live nearby are members of the Keener Volunteer Fire Department and tried to help Bates and the two children who escaped.

"She got in her vehicle and drove down to a neighbor's residence who she knows is a firefighter, to tell him that the house was on fire," deputy Argo said.

He said that even though the Etowah County Arson Task Force is investigating, that does not necessarily mean this is an arson case.  The task force investigates all deadly fires in the county.
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