Child dies in Stuart boat fire - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Child dies in Stuart boat fire

Charlie Birely Charlie Birely

By Jamel Lanee'

STUART, FL (WFLX) - Rachel Traill and her family laid flowers Monday afternoon at Shepards Park for Charlie Birely.

The 11-year-old boy died in a boat fire Sunday. "We were devastated. It's nothing you would ever expect," said Traill.

Charlie was on the autism spectrum. Rachel was Charlie's occupational therapist and worked with him for eight years. She described the Stuart middle schooler as charismatic. "He had a good sense of humor", she said. "He was smart. He was a hard worker, and he really loved to play."

Charlie's death is also hitting those in the boating community. "Shocked, I mean, I knew him real well. It's a tragedy," said Bruce Adams.

Adams boat sits on the dock where the family would free anchor.

Their daughter was at church with Adams Sunday when the fire happened.

He said Charlie was coming along. "He'd been in special education, and it really did him good. I mean when he first got here, he couldn't really look you in the eye or anything else and was very distant, now very friendly, talk to you and stuff," said Adams.

Friends of the family have started a foundation in Charlie Birely's name at Sea Coast Bank.

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