CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A home in Webster County burned to the ground unnoticed, killing a disabled woman inside, investigators said.
Firefighters went Sunday morning to the site of the Elk River Road home about nine miles from Webster Springs after a passerby noticed the little old house looked like it had burned down, said Mark Lambert, a supervisor and investigator at the State Fire Marshal's office.
They found the woman in her wheelchair in what would have been the middle of the house, he said.
Her body was removed and taken to the office of the state Medical Examiner for identification and autopsy, Lambert said. The victim's name has not been released but authorities have identified her as a 68-year-old white female.
Lambert said there was nothing left of the house but ashes and metal objects. Firefighters did not respond to the fire itself.
"It happens a couple times a year," Lambert said. "People live way, way out in the country. If no one sees it a house may burn to the ground, but normally there's no one inside. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case here."
Investigators, along with officers from the State Police and Webster Sheriff's Department, were speaking to potential witnesses and others who live in the area. The fire did not appear suspicious, Lambert said.
Residents in the area told investigators the house was small and older. Lambert said he'd been told the house "wasn't in the best shape." He did not believe it would have taken a very long time for the house to burn.
Lambert said the state had been experiencing a rash of fatal fires the last few months. Fires at a pair of homes near Duck in Braxton County killed one man last week. A small fire in an apartment on Charleston's West Side claimed the life of a man who was found dead in his chair.
In March, a Calhoun County woman and her three grand children were killed in a fire. The children's father and uncle escaped but were injured.
Those fires, along with the fire over the weekend, remain under investigation.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.
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