Assistant state fire marshal discusses Elkins fire

ELKINS, W.Va. — A stuffed couch on the porch of an Elkins home may have played a role in a deadly fire.

The Oct. 28 blaze at the home on Central Street left five people dead, including four children. Two other members of the family remain hospitalized with critical injuries.

“We know the fire started on the side porch,” Assistant State Fire Marshal Mackey Ayersman said Tuesday. “We can tell the origin was a corner next to the couch where the family smoked, and they had been smoking there the night before.”

Ayersman said they were able to rule out arson, electrical, and most other causes, but because of the level of damage to the couch they were unable to rule out a smoking fire.

“We found no indication it was set intentionally,” he said. “All evidence points to that corner where they smoked.”

The Oct. 28 blaze claimed the lives of Alan Chamberlain, 29, and his children Isabella Grace “Bella” Chamberlain, 4, Alanna Faith “Lana” Chamberlain, 2, Brianna Hope “Brie” Chamberlain, 2, and his stepdaughter, Katherine Claire “Kate” Bolgar, 11. Chamberlain’s wife and brother-in-law remained in critical condition Tuesday at the West Penn Burn Unit in Pittsburgh.

Funeral services are scheduled for Wednesday in Elkins.


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