Mother pulls five children from burning home

Family members said their mother and other family members risked their lives to rescue the children.

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Taylor Wilkie and her five children were asleep in their home when flames broke out around 11 p.m.

Investigators said the fire began near a front wall and quickly spread.

Taylor Wilkie raced through the burning home to get to her children, who range from 18 months to 8 years old. 

“She has burns all over her back from going in and out,” the victim’s sister, Tammy Wilkie, said.

The oldest and youngest children suffered the worst injuries. 

“Her youngest son, he’s got burns all over his body … Her oldest son, he's on a ventilator, because they thought he had lost oxygen for too long,” Tammy Wilkie said. “He squeezed his dad's hand and moved his arms a little bit. They put him back on sedatives to keep him from trying to mess with the ventilator.”

She said her mother and a cousin were also burned trying to get the kids out. 

“He ended up having to bust out his window of the bedroom and drag him out through the window,” she said.

When firefighters arrived, they were thankful to see everyone was safely outside, but they needed immediate medical attention.

In total, eight people -- three adults and five children -- were taken to the hospital.

“They would have had school today, it would have been a normal day until they woke up in the middle of the night with the house on fire," Tammy Wilkie said.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the fire, but believe a wood-burning stove could be to blame.

Tammy Wilkie said the house in rural Cherokee County has been in their family for decades.

“My mom and dad built this house when they first got married, so it’s kind of heartbreaking,” she said.

The family lost everything in the fire and didn’t have insurance.

Tammy Wilkie created a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses and rebuilding their home.

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