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Father of fire victims arrested on drug charges

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A Calhoun County man who escaped a fire that killed his three young children and mother has been behind bars on a drug charge since his release from the hospital last week.

Benjamin Jackson, 34, of Chloe, was arrested Saturday after leaving a Cabell County hospital where he was being treated for burns he received in the March 14 fire.

Firefighters and deputies responded early the morning of March 14 to a fully engulfed mobile home on Mud Fork Road in Chloe. The fire killed Jackson's mother, Darlene Gooslin, and his three children, Ryan, 7, Patricia, 6, and Aryanne, 5.

Neighbors said Gooslin, 58, stayed home to care for the three children.

The funeral service for the grandmother and children was held Saturday afternoon in Clay, according to obituaries. 

Jackson escaped the house with his brother, David Jackson, who also suffered burns. Both men were transported to Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital and then later to Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Benjamin Jackson was planning the funerals for his children when he was arrested. 

Charleston Patrolman B. Helmbright contacted State Police Cpl. J.B. Hunt on March 14.  He said workers at Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital told him they found drug paraphernalia in Jackson's belongings when he came to the hospital, according to a criminal complaint.

Helmbright described the items as a plastic bag of meth, coffee filters and a smoking device.

Jackson was charged with possession of a controlled substance. He is being held at Central Regional Jail on $3,000 bond. The fire remains under investigation.


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