Calhoun County: Four Dead after a Trailer Fire

The Gilmer Free Press


Woman and Three Children Believed Dead in Calhoun Blaze

A fire in Calhoun County leaves four people, three of them children dead.

The blaze broke out at the mobile home off Route 16 on Mud Fork in the Stinson-Chloe community of the county.

Investigators from the state fire marshal’s office confirm the four fatalities and two survivors.

Sources at the scene indicate the victims are believed to be an elderly grandmother and three of her grand children.

All three of the children are reportedly under the age of eight.

The two survivors are adult males in their 30′s believed to be sons of the woman who died.

They managed to make it to a neighbor’s house to call for help.

Both were reportedly injured, one of them with severe burns.

They are recovering at CAMC in Charleston.

A cause for the fire is under investigation.


The state Fire Marshal’s Office says four people are dead after a trailer fire early Thursday morning in Calhoun County.

The blaze occurred at about 5:00 AM along Mud Fork Road near the Chloe area.

Reports say other people were injured in the blaze.

An investigation is underway.

WV State Police: Victims In I-79 Accident Were Children Ages 12 and 14

The Gilmer Free Press

According to West Virginia Department of Transportation Two people died Friday, March 08, 2013 after a single car accident along Interstate 79 in Braxton County, WV.

The accident was happened about 2:00 PM in the southbound fast lane, near Frametown, WV.

West Virginia State Police says the two victims who died in a crash in were two children, ages 12 and 14.

State Police says the driver of a sport utility vehicle lost control, slid down a hill, hit several trees and landed in a ditch.

The kids were thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.

Two other children and two adults were taken to the hospital, but are expected to be OK.

None of the children was wearing a seat belt.

West Virginia State Police said charges are pending.

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Ritchie County: Federal Officials Cite WV Gas Driller Following ’12 Fire

The Gilmer Free Press

A West Virginia gas drilling operator is facing fines following a 2012 well fire that injured three workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Monday it had cited Ellenboro-based Hall Drilling LLC with two serious safety violations found at a Wolf Summit drill site following the August 2012 fire.

The agency proposed $12,600 in penalties.

The violations included failing to ensure the use of flame-retardant clothing and to ensure workers were not exposed to fire and gas explosions from uncontrolled gas flow at the well bore.

The violations were categorized as serious, which means there is “substantial probability” that they could cause death or serious injury.

Hall Drilling has 15 business days to comply, request a conference with the agency or contest the citations.

Wellpad Fire in Normantown Area Extinguished Quickly

The Gilmer Free Press

A Monday morning (February 11, 2013) fire at a Rubin Resources wellpad in the Normantown area of Gilmer County was extinguished within about an hour.

No one was injured, according to the Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department, which responded to the call.

A Rubin Resources employee said the underground oil and gas tanks caught fire during a maintenance operation at the well.

Workers shut off the lines that lead to the tank and then put out the fire, the employee said.

The well is a conventional well already in production, not a Marcellus Shale well and not one currently or recently drilled.

According to the fire department, the flames rose to an estimated 100 feet in the air when the fire hit pockets of gas.

The fire was contained to the wellpad and to a small brush fire just outside the wellpad.

Normantown: GCVFD Responded to a Fire at a Gas Well

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department responded to a gas well fire Barbeque Run Road area in Normantown, WV Monday morning, February 11, 2013.

The gas well belonging to Rubin Resources with an oil tank and gas tank underground caught on fire after well oil got onto a pump.

Crews shut off the lines that led into the tank and then put out the fire,

According to Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department, the flames at a certain point were approximately 100 feet in the air when it hit pockets of gas.

They fire fighters contained the fire to where the storage tanks were located and in the pit area of the well site and under control within one hour.

There were no injuries in the accident.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection was also at the scene Monday morning.

Court of Claims Orders WVDOH to Pay More than $22,000 to Motorists for Vehicle Damage

The Gilmer Free Press

Claims for vehicle damage caused by road conditions cost the West Virginia Division of Highways more than $22,000 in 2012.

The state Court of Claims awarded a total $22,416 to motorists who filed claims against the DOH.

The court also ordered the DOH to pay $12,601 to two people for claims related to maintenance failure.

The road-related claims included tires and wheels damaged by potholes.

Rachel Rinehart of Preston County filed a claim for damage after her car slid on a patch of ice and into an embankment in January 2011. She was awarded $375.

Rinehart says the accident wouldn’t have occurred if the DOH had treated the road with cinders.

Lewis County: Accident Closed I-79 N

The Gilmer Free Press

The accident happened about 8:30 AM, Thursday morning, September 24, 2013.

A tractor-trailer slid sideways causing the closure of I-79 N near Roanoke, south of Weston, about mile marker 92.

Both lanes reopened about 11:30 AM.

There were two people in the tractor-trailer and no one was injured in the accident.

No other vehicle was involved in the accident.

The Lewis County Sheriff Department cited poor road conditions causing the accident.

Lewis County:  House Fire in Pricetown

The Gilmer Free Press

The house fire happened on WV Highway 33/119 west of Weston in Pricetown.

Fire started about 4:30 PM, Wednesday, January 23, 2013.

According to fire fighter there was no one at the home alongside the road at the time of fire.

Fire started in basement and was put out before damaging the rest of the house.

Fire departments from Pricetown, Weston, and Jackson’s Mill responded to the fire.

The State Fire Marshal will investigate the fire on Thursday.

Lewis County: Fatal Fire under Investigation

The Gilmer Free Press

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been called in to investigate a fatal fire in Weston, WV.

The blaze occurred early Friday morning, January 18, 2013 (around Mid-Night) at a residence on Lynn Ave.

Firefighters say a man and three of his dogs died in the blaze.

Flames were showing when crews arrived on the scene.

Neighbors say the man lived alone.

Investigators discovered the victim’s body in the living room of the home.

Investigators said the fire appears to be accidental, but the official cause remains undetermined.

Ambulance Worker Killed in Collision with Tractor-Trailer on I-79 in Lewis County

The Gilmer Free Press

An ambulance company worker is dead following a collision with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 79 in Lewis County.

Lewis County sheriff’s deputy F.J. Turansky says Mark Anthony Kinder was a passenger in the ambulance.

Kinder died from his injuries at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital.

The accident occurred around 4:45 AM Tuesday, January 15, 2013 near Weston, WV.

Turansky says the ambulance’s driver was treated and released.

The tractor-trailer driver and a passenger were not injured.

Kinder was an employee of Jan Care Ambulance.

New Lewis County Sheriff Reviews Missing Girl Case


Lewis County’s new sheriff is planning an aggressive investigation of a 3-year-old girl’s disappearance in 2011.

Sheriff Adam Gissy says he and Chief Deputy Randy Hyre are reviewing the case files. Gissy says he hopes they will notice something that others may have missed.

Gissy says he wants to bring some closure to the case, if possible.

The FBI also is investigating Aliayah (uh LEE’ uh) Lunsford’s disappearance.

The child vanished from her Bendale home on Saturday, September 24, 2011.

Authorities have classified her disappearance as a crime.

But they have made no arrests and named no suspects.

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G-otcha™: If They Let You Out of Jail, Don’t Steal Car on Your Way Out

The Gilmer Free Press

A man and a woman did just that on Wednesday night, December 12, 2012 immediately upon being released from jail in Greenwood, authorities said.

To make matters worse, they then ran a red light and T-boned a sheriff’s car as they fled pursuing state and county officers in Pennsboro, WV; the Ritchie County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

That brought their escape - if you can call it that, considering they had just been released from North Central Regional Jail in neighboring Doddridge County - to a crashing halt.

The suspects, identified as Michael Lee Sharp and Amanda Clendenning, were checked out and released from hospitals with no major injuries, as was Ritchie County Deputy Jim Asbury.

As for the condition of Benji, the K-9 dog who was in the car with Asbury: In a posting on the department’s Facebook page, the deputy wrote that he was “little bit sore this morning and am getting ready to take Benji to the vet to get him checked out but he seems to be doing OK”.

The No. 1 thing not to do when you are released from jail, steal a jail worker’s car on your way out of the pokey.

Alum Bridge: Police Say Woman Shot Kids, Herself before Lewis County Barn Fire

The Gilmer Free Press

Lewis County authorities say a woman found dead in a barn more than a month ago shot and killed her two children before committing suicide.

Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Ryan tells media outlets that is the conclusion of his investigation into the deaths of 32-year-old Beth Ann Kraus and her children, 3-year-old Kiera and 5-year-old Kaden.

Doug Kraus found the bodies of his wife and children November 12, 2012 in a burned-out barn near Alum Bridge, WV after returning from a night shift at his job.

Investigators were suspicious because the barn had no utilities.

Autopsies by the state medical examiner’s office later showed all three had died of gunshot wounds.

Alum Bridge: Investigators Say Lewis County Kids Were Shot

The Gilmer Free Press        The Gilmer Free Press

The investigation reports indicate the two Lewis County children who were found dead after a barn fire near their home earlier this month were shot.

Deputies with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department are not talking publicly about the case surrounding the deaths of Beth Kraus, age 32, from Alum Bridge, WV; and her two kids, Kaden, age 5, and Keira, age 3.

However, Deputy State Fire Marshal Reed Cook confirmed the shootings of the children to The Charleston Daily Mail this week.

The bodies of the three were found back on Monday, November 12, 2012 following the barn fire.

Beth Kraus’ husband, Doug, says he got home from work that morning and made the discovery.

A gun was reportedly found at the scene.

A funeral service was held this past Saturday in Lewis County for Kaden, a student at Alum Bridge Elementary, and Keira.

No funeral arrangements have yet been finalized for Beth Kraus.

OddlyEnough™: Florida Man Choked to Death in Roach-Eating Contest

The Gilmer Free Press

A Florida man choked to death after downing dozens of live roaches to win a contest earlier this year in which the grand prize was a python, according to an autopsy released Monday.

Edward Archbold, age 32, of West Palm Beach died as a result of “asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents,” according to the report released by the Broward County medical examiner’s office. It said his airway was obstructed by the roach body parts, which caused him to not be able to breathe.

“There is a flap called the epiglottis that is supposed to stop objects from going into the lungs,” medical examiner Craig T. Mallak wrote in an email to the AP. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work. In the video you could see him trying to swallow and breathe at the same time. We can’t do both simultaneously.”

Lab tests for drugs came back negative. The death has been ruled an accident.

Archbold died after downing the bugs as well as worms in the October 06, 2012 contest at Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach, about 40 miles north of Miami.

Messages left with the store’s owner and his attorney were not immediately returned.

Archbold became ill shortly after winning the contest and collapsed in front of the store. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

About 30 people ate the insects, but authorities said none of the other contestants became ill.

WV Man Who Uses Oxygen Tank Suffers Severe Burns When Lit Tobacco Pipe Ignites Beard

The Gilmer Free Press

A Wetzel County man who uses an oxygen tank to help him breathe suffered severe burns when his beard caught on fire as he tried to light a tobacco pipe.

New Martinsville Fire Chief Larry Couch said Saturday that the 76-year-old man remains in critical condition at the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh.

Couch says firefighters responded to a home in New Martinsville on Wednesday. He says the man’s thick hair and heavy beard helped trap oxygen that then ignited when the pipe was lit.

The man was taken to Wetzel County Hospital, and then transferred to the hospital in Pittsburgh.

Couch tells The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that the man was hurt in a similar manner less than a year ago. He declined to release the man’s name.

Ritchie County: Hunting-Related Death - Victim Suffered Heart Attack

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says a deer hunter in Ritchie County, WV suffered a heart attack and died on the first day of deer gun season Monday.

Investigators say Joe Clayton, age 73, of Smithville, WV, was hunting near Hazelgreen Road Monday evening, November 19, 2012 at around 6:30 PM when he collapsed and died.

The death is the first reported in the two-week season that runs through December 01, 2012.

Alum Bridge: Three People Dead in a Barn Fire

The Gilmer Free Press

Update: 11.13.12 - 10:02 aM

The West Virginia medical examiner has identified the woman and two children found dead this week after a barn fire in Lewis County.

First Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Nabila Haikal identified the victims as: 32-year-old Beth Ann Kraus; her 5-year-old son, Kaden Edward Kraus; and her 3-year-old daughter, Keira Marie Kraus.

Haikal performed the autopsies Tuesday. But the medical examiner’s office does not release causes of death.

Authorities have refused to say whether they believe the victims died before or during the blaze in Alum Bridge.

According to Mark Lambert Assistant State Fire Marshal a pistol was recovered in the fire scene.

The fire occurred sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning, when the woman’s husband phoned authorities.

Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Ryan said the husband had been working a midnight shift at his job. He declined to release any further details about the investigation Wednesday.


Update: 11.12.12 - 7:20 PM

The West Virginia fire marshal’s office says a woman and two children are dead after an overnight barn fire in Lewis County.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Reed Cook says the fire happened in Alum Bridge sometime between 7:30 PM Sunday and 7:30 AM Monday.

Cook wouldn’t immediately identify the victims, or provide any details about their deaths.

It’s unclear if they died in or before the blaze.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department said the children were both toddlers.

It did not provide any further information about them or say who found the victims Monday.

The barn was behind a home off Crooked Run Road.

Deputy Robert Ryan said the bodies will be sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Charleston.

The cause of the fire is also under investigation.


Three people (one adult and two toddlers) are dead after a barn fire in Lewis County.

The blaze took place sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning on Coopers Run Road near the community of Alum Bridge, WV.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office arrived on the scene at just before Noon Monday to begin its investigation.

The victims have not been identified.

Firefighters from the Midway Volunteer Fire Department and Alum Bridge were on the scene along with State Police Troopers and deputies from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department.

The fire was first reported at 7:50 AM Monday morning.

Ritchie County: Natural Gas Wellhead Explosion Causing Gas Release

The Gilmer Free Press

According to Ritchie County Office of Emergency Services there was an issue with a natural gas well Tuesday evening, November 06, 2012 on Spring Run Road in Pennsboro.

Residents in the area smelled a strong odor of natural gas and alerted the officials.

Ritchie County office of emergency services said a conventional wellhead blew off, causing the gas release.

No injuries or health issues have been reported.

Officials said pressure from ice and possibly nearby Marcellus wells caused the incident.

Lewis County Man Sues WVDOC Over Car Accident

The Gilmer Free Press

A Lewis County man is suing the West Virginia Division of Corrections after he was injured in a car accident.

Hailey Mayfield, in her individual capacity and as administratrix for the Estate of John David Mayfield, was also named as a defendant in the suit.

On November 01, 2010, Edgar L. Bleigh Sr. was operating a 1996 Mack Tri-Axel Dump Truck loaded with gravel on U.S. 50 near West Union when John Mayfield, who was driving a 2007 Dodge Caravan passenger van owned by WVDOC, ignored a stop sign and flashing caution traffic signal and caused his vehicle to collide with Bleigh’s, according to a complaint filed Oct. 31 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Bleigh claims John Mayfield was acting in the scope of his employment as a correctional officer for WVDOC at the time of the collision.

As a result of the collision between the two vehicles, Bleigh’s truck overturned and spilled gravel over U.S. 50 and a fire ensued, according to the suit.

Bleigh claims he was trapped in his truck and tried to kick out a window to escape, but was unsuccessful. However, a bystander broke the window with a rock and Bleigh was able to escape the fire.

Due to the collision, Bleigh suffered serious personal and emotional injuries which are permanent in nature and he incurred medical expenses and loss of income, according to the suit.

Bleigh is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by David C. Glover.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-2185

~~  Kyla Asbury - The WV Record  ~~

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