The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 26, 2014

One of two women injured in house fire dies; police seeking two men as ‘persons of interest’

FAYETTEVILLE — One of the two women injured in a Sunday house fire in Fayette County has died, and investigators are seeking two men they call “persons of interest” in connection with the blaze, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Cheryl Ward, 28, of Oak Hill, died at Cabell-Huntington Hospital Monday evening. Her body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Charleston. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

The other woman, Jamie Castillo, 39, also of Oak Hill, remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Emergency crews were sent to the house fire at 530 Gatewood Road in Oak Hill just before 2 a.m. Sunday.

Two women with severe burn injuries were found just inside the front door of the house. They were airlifted to the burn ward at Cabell-Huntington.

The Fayette Sheriff’s Detective Bureau teamed up with investigators from the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office to find the cause of the fire.

Investigators say they figured out that the fire started in the living room of the house, which is where the two women were located. The exact cause of the fire is still being investigated by the Sheriff’s Fire and Arson Unit, along with the State Fire Marshal.

Police are focusing on two people in connection with the investigation.

“We are looking for any witnesses who may have seen two white males walking in the area of East Main Street near the intersection with Gatewood Road in Oak Hill and the Summerlee Road area between the Country Corner and the Owl’s Club in Oak Hill between 11 p.m. Saturday, March 22, and 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 23,” Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler said in a press release.

“One of these male individuals is described as a white male, approximately in his mid-50s, short and stocky, with short, salt-and-pepper hair and a closely-trimmed salt-and-pepper beard and mustache.

“The second male is described as a white male, approximately in his early 20s, short and slender.”

Anyone who saw these two men walking in the area during this time frame is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 304-574-4216 or Crime Stoppers at 304-255-7867.

Tips can also be given through the “Fayette County Sheriff’s Department” Facebook page.

— E-mail: cneff@register-herald.com

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