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5th person injured in Elkins house fire dies

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Fire Marshal's Office confirmed the identities Wednesday of an Elkins man and two of the four children who died in a house fire earlier this week.

Assistant state fire marshal Mark Lambert says 29-year-old Alan Chamberlain died Tuesday night at the West Penn Burn Center in Pennsylvania, hours after the death of 2-year-old daughter Brianna Chamberlain and her half-sister, 11-year-old Catherine Bolgar.

The Allegheny County, Pa., medical examiner's office first released the victims' names to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (http://bit.ly/17XYobq ).

Brianna's twin and a 4-year-old sister died at a hospital in Elkins after the early-morning fire Monday. Lambert has not yet released their names.

The children's mother and an adult male who was also present when the fire began remain at the burn center.

Lambert said investigators have finished working at the scene but have not yet revealed the cause of the fire.

Elkins Fire Chief Tom Meader said the fire blocked the house's main exits, and the only smoke detector lacked batteries.

The Elkins fire now stands among the state's worst in recent years.

In March, three children and their grandmother died in a mobile home fire in the Clay County community of Chloe. Two others were critically injured.

In March 2012, nine people - seven of them children - died in a Charleston house fire that was the city's deadliest in more than 60 years. Only one woman made it out alive.

And in November 1997, a fast-burning house fire in Weston killed five children ranging from 3 to 10 years old.

Three adults escaped, and two were tried twice on federal charges that carried a possible death sentence. Barbara and Ricky Brown were ultimately acquitted of accusations that they'd set the fire for insurance money but later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in state court.

Their housemate, Janette Ables, pleaded guilty to state charges of child neglect by a parent resulting in death under a plea deal and testified against her housemates.

All three were later released.


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