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Cause of deadly fire still unknown

January 12, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

A man who was killed in a fire at Glenn's Auto Repair and Towing on West Virginia Avenue Saturday morning was installing a clutch on a vehicle when the fire started, the owner of the business said Sunday.

Glenn Smith said he does not know what started the fire that killed Mark Haines.

Haines also lived in the shop, which is at 1306 West Virginia Ave., Smith said.

Although Smith identified the victim as Haines, a Martinsburg Fire Department spokesman said Sunday it is too early for him to confirm the identity of the man.

Investigators have yet to positively identify the victim, but hope an autopsy to be conducted on the body today in Charleston, W.Va., will help them make the conclusion, said Capt. David Brining.

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Brining said the cause of the fire still is under investigation, although investigators are leaning toward classifying it as accidental.

Interviews with employees and people familiar with the business are being conducted in an attempt to determine the cause of the fire, Brining said.

Two other men who were in building were able to flee and reported the fire about 7:04 a.m., officials said.

A Honda car in the building was destroyed, and Smith, who estimated the damage at $100,000.

Smith said he has operated the business for about 15 years.

About 23 firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze. It took at least 15 minutes for firefighters to knock down the fire in the building, which measured about 50 feet by 30 feet.

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