Quantcast

Father of boy killed in Etowah County fire talks exclusively to - abc27 WHTM

Father of boy killed in Etowah County fire talks exclusively to ABC 33/40

Posted: Updated:
ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. - "He was Mr. Special, he had a big heart and he was always thinking of others before himself," Chris Atchley said.

Nine-year-old Callister Atchley died June 2 in a house fire in the Keener community, north of Gadsden.

"He loved science.  He loved building things, creating things, he loved working with his hands,"  Chris said.

"He was a little inventor, he was always tinkering and thinking about his next project he was going to work on."

Chris Atchley was on his way back from Mobile when he heard about the fire.  He picked up his grandmother and they were about 75 minutes south of Birmingham when he got the call.

His two other children, 10-year-old Alexandra and four-year-old Paul, received treatment for smoke inhalation.  Their mother, Jennifer Bates, suffered more serious injuries and doctors put her in a medically-induced coma.

It was her birthday.

A helicopter took Bates from Keener to UAB.  She stayed in the Intensive Care Unit until Saturday, and remains in the hospital.

"She suffered smoke inhalation and burns to her face, her arms, and her feet, but she's healing very well.  She rescued our two children here, but it's a tragic loss," Atchley said.

The family did not have insurance, so friends and neighbors are trying to provide support.  The "Atchley Family Fund" is set up at Winsouth Credit Union in Etowah County.  Chris Atchley said Absolute Fitness in Gadsden and Rainbow Monument Company also accepted donations.

"I want to thank everyone that's supporting. all the businesses, all the people, friends, family, all the neighbors known and unknown that are working and we thank you so much and thank you for all the prayers," he said.

"People that you've never even met or spoke to, it's so comforting to know that these people are coming out and helping, and all the love, the true love that people are showing, it's wonderful."

Atchley lost his job in April and recently received an employment offer in Florida.  He said that is still up in the air as he cares for Alexandra and Paul, and waits for their mother's recovery.  He said the new job is the last thing on his mind right now.

Investigators have yet to announce the cause of the fire, but Atchley said it doesn't matter to him.

"It's done now," he said.  "Nothing can change that."

Faith is carrying the family through the difficult time.

"I do not know how people live without God.  It's our faith in God that has helped us come through this.  Romans 8:28 says all things work to the good of those who love God, and are called to God according to his purpose.  If i didn't have that and if I didn't know that our son callister was with the lord now, I would lose my mind," Atchley said.

He said four-year-old Paul still asks about his brother, as he doesn't fully understand what's happened.  Alexandra is 13 months older than Callister, and Atchley said the two siblings were very close.  He said faith is helping her, too.

"It's wonderful that we taught our children from a very young age about God.  Just the basic things.  [Alexandra] has peace and comfort through that and it's helping her heal," he said.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Shelby wants plan to fix Central Alabama VA

    Shelby wants plan to fix Central Alabama VA

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:19:22 GMT
    U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today sent a letter with U.S. Representative Martha Roby to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday. The letter requests that Secretary McDonald provide a plan within 60 days that identifies the problems at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, what can be done to correct them, and a timeline for implementation. It also requests that Secretary McDonald visit the facility in Montgomery with Senator Shelby and Represe...More >>
    U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today sent a letter with U.S. Representative Martha Roby to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday. The letter requests that Secretary McDonald provide a plan within 60 days that identifies the problems at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, what can be done to correct them, and a timeline for implementation. It also requests that Secretary McDonald visit the facility in Montgomery with Senator Shelby and Represe...More >>
  • Athens man pleads not guilty in Craigslist kitten killings

    Athens man pleads not guilty in Craigslist kitten killings

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:14:53 GMT
    Ronald Fraser Golden, 49, of Athens pleaded not guilty to 22 cruelty charges during a brief hearing in Limestone County, where authorities say he killed the animals in a part of his home he called "the cat room."

    More >>
    Ronald Fraser Golden, 49, of Athens pleaded not guilty to 22 cruelty charges during a brief hearing in Limestone County, where authorities say he killed the animals in a part of his home he called "the cat room."

    More >>
  • Girl who was struck by plane that crashed on Florida beach dies

    Girl who was struck by plane that crashed on Florida beach dies

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:34 PM EDT2014-07-29 20:34:21 GMT
    A 9-year-old girl who was struck by a plane that crash-landed on a beach while she vacationed with her family has died from her injuries, law enforcement officials in Florida said Tuesday.More >>
    A 9-year-old girl who was struck by a plane that crash-landed on a beach while she vacationed with her family has died from her injuries, law enforcement officials in Florida said Tuesday.
    More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
Powered by WorldNow