UPDATE: Victims of fatal Oak Hill fire identified

Local - 3/25/2014 12:36 PM

OAK HILL - Authorities released the names of the victims of Sunday's fatal house fire in Oak Hill and are looking for two "persons of interest" in connection to the investigation.

Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler said in a news release that the victims have been identified as Cheryl Ward, 28, of Oak Hill, and Jamie Castillo, 39, originally of Ohio but reportedly residing in the Oak Hill area. Ward was pronounced dead at Cabell-Huntington Hospital on Monday during the late afternoon hours. Her body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Charleston, where is autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday. 

Kessler said Castillo remains in critical condition. Investigators have been able to determine that the fire originated in the living room area of the house where Ward and Castillo were located. The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Fire and Arson Unit of the Sheriff's Office and the Office of the West Virginia State Fire Marshal. 

Investigators are focusing on two individuals who have been classified as "persons of interest" in the investigation, according to Kessler. They are asking any witnesses to come forward who may have seen two white men walking between 11 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the area of East Main Street in Oak Hill near the intersection of Gatewood Road and the Summerlee Road area between the Country Corner and the Owl's Club. One of the men is approximately in his mid-fifties, short and stocky, with short salt-and-pepper hair and a closely-trimmed salt-and-pepper beard and mustache. The second man is approximately in his early twenties, short and slender. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 304-574-4216 or Crime Stoppers at 304-244-7867. 

The Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau is investigating the incident.


UPDATE: 3/24/14, 6:40 p.m.

OAK HILL - A female hurt in a weekend fire in Fayette County has died. The Fayette County Sheriff's Office tells Newswatch one of the two females injured in a fire early Sunday morning in Oak Hill has died.

Her body will be transferred to the chief medical examiner for an autopsy. The second victim remains in critical condition. Investigators say initial information about the females being strangers at the home is false, at least one of the victims was known to the occupants of the residence.

The identities of the victims are not being released at this time. Stick with Newswatch as more details become available.


ORIGINAL: 3/23/14 6:12pm

OAK HILL - Authorities in Fayette County are working to determine what may have caused an overnight fire that left 2 people in critical condition.

2 women were airlifted to Cabell-Huntington Burn Unit after they were rescued from a burning house early Sunday morning.

Captain Jim Sizemore of the Fayette County Sherriff's Dept., said, " when the first fire dept. personnel arrived on the scene they made entry into the residence and found two females lying just inside the front door. Both of them had suffered extensive burns to their upper torso."

"We have spoken with the burn unit at Cabell- Huntington this morning and both of them are reportedly in critical condition."

Officials said the pair is from the local area, but no other details are being released to the public.

"We believe we know who they are at the point but until we are positive we are withholding releasing any identifying information until we are absolutely certain of our facts on that," said Sizemore.

Officials with the Fayette County Sheriffs Department said the circumstances of this house fire are extremely strange. Investigation is still ongoing at this point.

Sizemore said, "the 2 female victims apparently did not live at this residence and the occupants of the residence don't know them and don't know how they came to be there....so that's a really strange question that were pursuing at this point as to why they were there."

Oak Hill and Fayetteville Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the scene. What started the fire has not been determined.

"the fire and arson unit and the sheriffs office proceeded with a cause and origin determination. We actually have video from the scene from the first fire fighters in and were reviewing that as we speak," said Sizemore. "Also, I have an officer that is securing the Scene as we continue our investigation."


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