West Virginia House Fire Kills Four; Three Children Lose Their Parents

MIDKIFF -- By the time firefighters from the Guyan River Volunteer Fire Department arrived at the little house in Lincoln County and began reaching into the blazing building's bedroom windows, it was too late.

The Monday morning fire killed everyone in the house on W.Va. 10 near Midkiff, including owners Roger and Angela Frye, Angela's aunt, Ramona Farley, and the Fryes' 3-year-old daughter, Patience.

Left behind are three boys ranging in age from 9 to 17. They returned home from a Mud River fishing trip with their uncles a few minutes after the firefighters arrived, said Bobby Gibson, one of Angela Frye's brothers.

All three boys are Angela Frye's children. One, 9-year-old Cody, is Roger Frye's child. The other two, 17-year-old Jeremy and 15-year-old Jonathan, are Roger Frye's stepchildren.

None were available for comment. Gibson said they were devastated.

"How do you think they feel?" he said. "They just lost their mother, their sister, their family."

The fire started about 12:45 a.m. in a wall between the house's front porch and living room. By then, everyone in the house was in bed, said Gibson, whose mother talked to Farley about 11 p.m.

It took less than 20 minutes for it to go from a spark to a blaze powerful enough to gut the house's living room and kitchen, said Vernon Maynard of Midkiff, Roger Frye's brother-in-law.

Maynard said he drove by the house about 12:25 a.m. and saw nothing out of the ordinary. When he passed by it again 20 minutes later, the house was ablaze, he said.

Maynard said he stopped his car, ran toward the house's bedroom windows and began looking for signs for life in the house. "I saw them lying there," he said. "But they were already dead."

When firefighters arrived at 12:48 a.m., the roof over the living room had collapsed and the house was filled with smoke, said Capt. William Frazier Jr. of the Guyan River fire department.

He said firefighters pulled 3-year-old Patience out of a bedroom window, but couldn't revive her.

Angela and Roger Frye were found in the house's bedroom area. Farley, who had stayed in the house for a few days to help care for Patience, was found in a hallway.

Frazier said all four appeared to have died from smoke inhalation. The bodies were taken to the state medical examiner's office.

The family said Roger Frye, a derrick hand for Lloyd Jackson Well Service, and Angela Frye, who had just started a job at the Alcon Surgical factory in Huntington, were kind, friendly people.

In their back yard, Roger kept a couple of coon dogs and more than a dozen chickens and roosters. Family members said raising poultry was his hobby.

"They were just country, that's all there is to it," said Heather Plumley, the wife of one of Roger Frye's nephews.

The family is still working on arrangements for the surviving boys.