The identity of the person killed in the Monday, September 10 fire at 196 Youngblood Road south of Great Cacapon hasn't been confirmed.
The ruling as to the identity of the victim found at the fire scene will be coming from the State Medical Examiner's Office, said Assistant Fire Marshal Ed Robinson. Family members provided a hair sample for DNA assessment. Robinson didn't know when the DNA results would be available.
The cause of the fire has been ruled as undetermined, said Robinson. The blaze was so intense that it completely destroyed the two-story wooden farmhouse before it was discovered.
Two men on their way to work spotted the fire and thought it was a brush fire until they drove up the driveway and saw the house burning, said Robinson.
All that remained when they chanced upon the fire scene was what firefighters found at 5:26 a.m. when they arrived—the standing mortar chimney, some roof supports and the basement, said Robinson.
The passersby couldn't get any cell phone coverage in the area, he said. They drove to Doris' Deli in Great Cacapon to a pay phone to call in the fire at 5:11 a.m. that morning. The address of the fire location originally came in as 189 Youngblood Road and was incorrect, said Robinson.
Robinson believed the fire had been burning for several hours because there was hardly anything left of the house at the scene. There was a decent fog that night and the fire would have been hard to notice by people driving by, he said.
Firefighters from Great Cacapon, Paw Paw, Berkeley Springs, South Morgan and Hancock Volunteer Fire Departments and the Great Cacapon First Responder Unit responded to the fire.
Robinson, Morgan County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Vince Shambaugh and Sheriff's Department Investigator Tony Link investigated the scene. Morgan County Coroner Steve McBee, Sheriff's Deputy Tim Johnson and Allegheny Power also assisted at the fire scene.
Shambaugh said that there was a lack of evidence as to the cause of the fire because of its intensity. The fire had also caught some grass and brush around the farmhouse, he said.
The victim's remains were found in the basement in the front part of the house, said Shambaugh. They believed that the victim was asleep at the time of the fire.
While the victim's identity is still unconfirmed, Shambaugh said that a man named Matthew Wood, about age 28, lived in the house.