WILLIAMSON, W.Va. – An early morning fire on Wilson Drive in Williamson, which is located on the hillside behind the old West Virginia State Police barracks in East End, has left an elderly woman dead.
The name of the victim has not been released. The body was taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in South Charleston for an autopsy and official identification. Officials were also trying to notify family members who do not live in the area.
A call came into 911 at approximately 7:10 a.m. Thursday morning, the caller stated a house was on fire and someone may be inside.
When the first engine arrived on scene they found the front of the structure fully engulfed in flames.
The department made entry through the front and the back of the residence.
Firefighters were hindered in their efforts to extinguish the flames due to no hydrants within close proximity to the residence.
In order to access a water source, 1,100 feet of fire hose had to be ran up an embankment to the nearest fire hydrant.
According to Williamson Fire Department Chief Joey Carey, the initial investigation indicates the fire originated in the front area of the house in the master bedroom.
Wally Farley, who lives next door, said, “I saw flames and called 911, I went to the residence and tried to get in through the back door.”
Farley was unable to make entry into the residence because of the smoke being so thick and heavy.
“I have known her for the past approximately 16 years and lived next door to her for about the past two years,” said Farley.
Farley’s wife Leeli said, “There were oxygen tanks exploding and you could see the flames shooting out the windows.”
According to a neighbor, the occupant of the house had been in the hospital and had just returned home yesterday evening. The neighbor also stated the deceased had multiple medical issues and lived alone.
Williamson Fire Department responded to the call with three trucks and 10 firefighters. The Chattaroy Volunteer Fire Department were called for mutual aid, they responded with a tanker, an engine and six firemen.
The Williamson City Police, West Virginia State Fire Marshal, Mingo County Medical Examiner Mike Casey and STAT Ambulance Service also responded to the scene.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The official investigation is being conducted by the W. Va. State Fire Marshal’s office.
Kendra Mahon is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be reached at [email protected] or 304-235-4242 ext. 2278.