The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 30, 2013

5th person injured in Elkins house fire dies


The Associated Press

ELKINS — The father of four children who died from injuries suffered in an Elkins house fire has also succumbed to his injuries, Assistant State Fire Marshal Mark Lambert said Wednesday.

The man died Tuesday night at the West Penn Burn Center in Pennsylvania. The children’s mother and an adult male who was also present when the fire began remained in the hospital Wednesday.

Lambert declined to name the victims until all family members have been located but said more information could be released later in the day.

Investigators have finished working at the scene, he said, but have not yet revealed the cause of the fire.

Also killed in the early morning blaze Monday were 2-year-old twins, a 4-year-old and an 11-year-old.

Elkins Fire Chief Tom Meader said the fire blocked the house’s main exits, and the only smoke detector lacked batteries.

The Elkins fire now stands among the state’s worst in recent years.

In March, three children and their grandmother died in a mobile home fire in the Clay County community of Chloe. Two others were critically injured.

In March 2012, a woman and five children died in a Charleston house fire that was the city’s deadliest in more than 60 years.

Alisha Carter-Camp died along with her children, ages 8, 7 and 3, and her 3-year-old and 18-month-old nephews. Only one woman made it out alive.

And in November 1997, a fast-burning house fire in Weston killed five children ranging from 3 to 10 years old.

Three adults escaped, and two were tried twice on federal charges that carried a possible death sentence. Barbara and Ricky Brown were ultimately acquitted of accusations that they’d set the fire for insurance money but later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in state court.

Their housemate, Janette Ables, pleaded guilty to state charges of child neglect by a parent resulting in death under a plea deal and testified against her housemates.

All three were later released.