Update: Neighbors React to Fatal House Fire

By: Todd Baucher, Cathleen Moxley Email
By: Todd Baucher, Cathleen Moxley Email

Update: 10/12/09

The names and cause of death have been released for three victims of a weekend house fire.

Captain Tim Flinn with the Parkersburg Fire Department says 26-year-old Jesse Hayes, 21-year-old Amanda McClain and her son, 11-month-old Conner Joy all died of smoke inhalation.

The three were living in a home on Camden Avenue that caught fire Sunday morning.

Neighbors say they were just getting to know the couple and the little boy who just moved into the neighborhood.

"I stopped and introduced myself. They told me their names. I told them our names and welcomed them to the neighborhood," Jennie Stringer, a neighbor, said.

"She said she liked it and that there were kids around for her kids to play with, and that it was just quieter," Angel Stringer, a neighbor, said.

Family, friends and neighbors have set up a memorial in front of the home.

They're also planning a fundraiser to help pay funeral costs. A yard sale/bake sale will be held at 909 Camden Avenue on Saturday, October 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Captain Flinn says the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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The victims are known to be two adults and a child. When firefighters arrived shortly after 5-30 a-m, they found the entire structure in flames.

"It was fully envolved," says Parkersburg Fire Chief Eric Chichester, "and it caught the exterior of the garage right beside it and got it on fire."

An investigation continues, but by afternoon, inspectors believed that items found to be too close to an electric heat source may have been what started the fire.

"From the framing of the structure and some paneling inside," fire inspector Tim Flinn says, "there were quite a few combustibles that aided the fire to spread."

Captain Flinn also said no smoke detectors were found inside the home. In spite of some obstacles, fire fighters were able to put out the blaze quickly.

"We had a lot of power lines down in the middle of the road where they were at," Chief Chichester added. "There were a lot of extenuating circumstances on this, but they did a very good job. And it was quite a distance from the road, too, so that made it a little bit tougher."

But they could not get to the fire quickly enough to save the victims, who, according to preliminary reports, may have died from smoke inhalation.

The names of the victims were not made available Sunday.

The bodies have been taken to the state medical examiner's office, and Captain Flinn says an autopsy could be performed late Monday afternoon.


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