Kentucky Couple Killed In House Fire; Son Among Those Responding To Blaze

A Martin County couple died early yesterday in a fire that destroyed their home in Tomahawk. Robert Allen, 86, and Jane Allen, 82, were deeply devoted to each other for more than 60 years, according to their family.

Among those responding to the blaze at the one-story house was the couple's son, Robert M. Allen, a former Inez assistant fire chief.

"Dispatch called him at 4 o'clock and told him they thought his parents' house was on fire, and when he got there, it had already burned down," said Robert Allen's wife, Jayne.

Neighbors called for help after hearing a loud noise at the Allens' home, then discovering the fire, Kentucky State Police said.

One neighbor thought the noise might have come from Jane Allen's car, which was parked in the garage, the couple's daughter-in-law said.

No foul play was suspected, but the fire remained under investigation, state police said.

Jane Allen, a homemaker, had pancreatic cancer and had been under hospice care for a while. Robert Allen, a former principal of Martin County Vocational School, helped with her care. "He was in good health. Got around just fine. He still mowed grass, was very active," Jayne Allen said.

Mr. Allen played guard on the Inez Indians boys' basketball team in the 1930s.

Eugene "Skeeze" Ward, a retired Inez car dealer, said-Inez played in the state basketball tournament all four years that Mr. Allen was in high school.

"They were real good people," Ward said.

Mr. Allen was in the Army during World War II and taught at Mayo Vocational School in Paintsville before taking the post at Martin County Vocational School.

"He tinkered. He could rebuild cars, just do everything. ... Very intelligent," Jayne Allen said.

Mrs. Allen, who was from Johnson County originally, had been active at Inez First Baptist Church.

"She was a great cook and loved to garden. She had lots of flowers. She made great bread pudding. She was wonderful. She took me in just like her own. I loved her dearly," her daughter-in-law said.

"They were very devoted to each other. He took excellent care of her."

In addition to their son and daughter-in-law, the Allens are survived by a daughter, Mary Jo Allen Brown of Parkersburg, W.Va., and a granddaughter, Betsy Allen of Inez. Mr. Allen also is survived by a sister, Marcella Burgess of Florida.

Arrangements were pending at Richmond-Callaham Funeral Home in Inez.