Kentucky House Fire Claims Two People

A wood-burning stove is being blamed for the deadly fire.


Feb. 13--A fire at a home in Whitley City in southeastern Kentucky early Sunday has left a woman and her mentally disabled grandson dead.

McCreary County Coroner Daniel Ridener identified the victims as Shirley Tooley, 52, and Jonathan Elliot, 17. The coroner said Tooley and Elliot likely died from smoke inhalation. Autopsies were to be performed Monday.

Ridener said a wood-burning stove in the living room of the one-story brick home apparently caused the blaze. The home was destroyed by the fire, he said.

Tooley, her grandson and two mentally disabled men, Charlie Piechoski, 53, and Timothy Bell, about 40, lived in the house. Tooley was the caregiver for the other three, the coroner said.

Authorities were called to the scene about 4 a.m. Piechoski and Bell were able to get out of the burning home, and began yelling and screaming, the coroner said. He said Tooley's body was found in a hallway. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Elliot was found partially in the hallway and partially in a bedroom. He was pronounced dead at St. Mary's Medical Center in Oneida, Tenn.

Piechoski was also taken to the hospital. He was expected to be released later Sunday, the coroner said. Bell was not injured.