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Fire kills one in W.Va.

September 12, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

GREAT CACAPON, W.VA. - The body of a man who died Monday morning in a house fire near Great Cacapon was burned so badly that it might be impossible to positively identify him, a fire official said Tuesday.

It is believed the man, who was in his late 20s or early 30s, was in a bed on the second floor of the house at 196 Youngblood Road when the fire started, said Ed Robinson, assistant state fire marshal.

The body was found in the basement of the home when officials searched the ruins, Marshal said.

Youngblood Road turns off W.Va. 9 about three miles west of Great Cacapon, which is west of Berkeley Springs, W.Va. The house was about a mile from W.Va. 9.

The man who lived in the house had been staying there about three years, Robinson said. The home was owned by Polly Shambaugh and was being leased, Robinson said.

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The mother of the man who lived in the house gave officials a hair sample from her son to help determine if a DNA match could be made between the hair and the remains of the body, Robinson said.

But Robinson said it might be impossible to positively identify the body because it was burned so severely.

The fire was spotted by two men who passed the scene on their way to work, Robinson said.

The fire was reported at 5:11 a.m. but it is possible the house had been burning for up to four hours by the time the men saw it, Robinson said.

"They thought it was a brush fire when they saw it," Robinson said. "There was nothing left at the scene to discern anything."

If a positive identification of the body cannot be made, it will be up to the state medical examiner's office to make a ruling on identification, Robinson said.

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