ST. ALBANS, W.Va. — Two people died Wednesday in a house fire in Kanawha County that investigators said most likely started with a lit cigarette that ignited a living room couch.
That fire was reported after 2 p.m. Wednesday on Benedict Circle in St. Albans.
Officials with the state Fire Marshal’s Office spent much of Wednesday afternoon at the fire scene.
C.W. Sigman, Kanawha County deputy emergency services director, said the blaze moved quickly — despite a fast response from firefighters with the St. Albans Fire Department and the Nitro Fire Department.
“When they got there, they had pretty heavy fire. The front of the house was on fire and the inside of the house, it’s a one-story building, had pretty heavy fire,” Sigman said. “They knocked the fire down pretty good.”
The victims, a man and a woman, were not being identified publicly on Wednesday evening. Their bodies were sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsies.
A neighbor reportedly tried to help one of those victims make it out of the home, but was unsuccessful.
“Several of the neighbors were making comments at the scene that they couldn’t believe how fast it really got going,” Sigman said. “The fire department got there within just a few minutes, three minutes or so, it wasn’t very long and (they) got on it pretty quick.”
Members of the St. Albans Police Department are also part of the investigation. It was not immediately clear if the smoke detectors in the home were working. Heavy damage was reported throughout the home.
Sigman called the timing of the deadly fire “unusual.” “During the daylight hours, people are usually awake and they smell the fire,” he said.