BLUEWELL– A structure fire early Tuesday morning claimed the lives of two Mercer County residents after it ignited in a downstairs bedroom.
According to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Kathy Hamm, 60, said at the scene that her father, Hubert Stepp, 89 and her brother Benjamin Stepp, 54, had died when their home at 152 Don Minnix Lane burned. Hamm stated that she was preparing for bed at approximately 2 a.m. when the fire started in her bedroom near her oxygen compressor. Hamm said she smoked and thought an ash might have reached the oxygen.
Hamm said she thought at first she had put the small fire out and then left the room, but it grew when she returned. Both her father and brother lived in upstairs bedrooms.
Assistant State Fire Marshal Scott Rodes said the cause of the fire was undetermined. The bodies of both victims had been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Charleston.
Hamm said she planned to stay with her daughter in Beckley.