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Body of woman found in burned Morgan County home identified

April 30, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

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BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- The body of a 66-year-old woman was found Tuesday morning in the rubble of her fire-ravaged home in Morgan County, W.Va., about 10 miles east of Berkeley Springs.

A firefighter found the body of Carol Pospisil after the fire was extinguished at the house at 161 Palm Lane, Assistant State Fire Marshal Patrick Barker said.

Pospisil was the only person inside the house when the fire broke out, Barker said.

Barker said there were a number of oxygen tanks in the house, which is in eastern Morgan County near the Berkeley County line. It is about 10 miles from Berkeley Springs.

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Barker said the cause of the fire was undetermined because of the extent of damage, but that it appeared the blaze began in the back of the home near a bedroom. He estimated damage at $300,000.

Pospisil had a heart condition and was about 99 percent bedridden, according to her sister, who lives nearby.

Pospisil's sister said the woman had a medical alert button, but she did not know if it had been activated. She said there also were fire alarms in the home.

Barker said a neighbor reported the fire at 4:51 a.m.

The house "was basically fully involved when we got there," Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief James Steiner said.

The ranch-style wood frame, brick-sided home was destroyed, Steiner said.

With no hydrants available, firefighters had a limited water supply, but they were able pull water from a pond, Steiner said.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Berkeley Springs firetruck returned to the scene to hose down some "hot spots," Steiner said.

Pospisil's body was to be sent to Charleston, W.Va., for positive identification, Morgan County medical examiner Steve McBee said.

Richard Pownell, who lives across the street from the house where the fire occurred, said Pospisil and her late husband moved into the house in 1979.

Pownell said he heard Pospisil once had been a model.

"We were friends for a long time and I'll miss her," Pownell said. 

Firefighters from Berkeley Springs went to the scene, along with South Morgan, Great Cacapon and Hedgesville fire companies.  

Also sent to the scene from Maryland were two Hancock engines, a Hancock rescue squad, an engine from Williamsport and a Rehab unit, all from Washington County.

Staff writer Matthew Umstead contributed to this story.




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