PALM BEACH,FLORIDA – A young boy with autism , Charlie Birley, 11 sadly died in a fire aboard his parents boat. The boat was moored off Shepard Park in the St. Lucie River. The family had been living on their boat.
The parents Brian Birley, 59 and Karen Laake, 53, were able to get off the boat and into their tiny dinghy. The police have said that the parents tried to get their son off the boat but failed to do so as the flames and smoke billowed into the air.
Charlie who is among the one in sixty eight children on the autism spectrum, according to the Center for Disease Control was unable to escape the fire on his own. Often children with Autism Spectrum Disorders become disoriented in different environments and do not have the same reaction skills that could potentially save their life.
Officer Brian Bossio, the city police spokesman said;.
“Due to the extreme heat coming from the fire, officers were unable to go aboard and attempt a rescue.”
City police are urging anyone who may have witnessed the fire or who have any information, to contact Detective Richard Serra at 772-220-3929 or Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 800-273-TIPS (8477). Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous
The original news story by Chris Persaud and Julius Whigham II can be read on the Palm Beach Post website