MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A fatal fire that claimed the lives of two people Thursday morning in Morgantown has been ruled a murder/suicide by the Morgantown Police Department.
Dennis Malarkey, 65, and Linda Rae Malarkey, 64, both of 245 Morris Street, have been identified as the victims in the fatal South Park neighborhood fire.
Investigators believe Dennis Malarkey shot and killed Linda Rae Malarkey before taking his own life.
The two were discovered by firefighters in a second-floor bedroom — along with a handgun.
The cause and origination of the fire remain undetermined, but the Morgantown Police Department reports early evidence suggests the fire was caused by one of the victims.
“The cause of the fire now, we don’t know,” Morgantown Fire Chief Mark Caravasos said. “It’s being looked at by the Fire Marshal’s Office, and they are working to make their determination.”
First responders were on scene just after 3:40 a.m. Thursday at the single-family home and fought the blaze for several hours..
“Crews arrived on scene to find a structure with heavy involvement of fire,” Caravasos said. “They proceeded to extinguish the blaze and do a search of the residence where they came upon two victims who were located in the upstairs bedroom.”
The two victims have been transported to Charleston for examination by the State Medical Examiner’s Office, according to Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston.
Fire crews will remain on scene throughout the day.
“We did have difficulty extinguishing the fire simply because of where it got into the void spaces of the attic,” Caravasos said. “So we were on scene for quite a while working on extinguishment, and we’re going to continue to be out checking the structure throughout the day — making sure that we don’t have anything kindle or up or have any other problems with the building.”
Anyone with any information regarding this incident may contact the Morgantown Police Department at 304-284-7522.