POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A house fire claimed the life of a child early Sunday morning at a home just outside Point Pleasant.
Point Pleasant Fire Chief Jeremy Bryant said his department was dispatched shortly after 1:30 a.m. Sunday to a residence located at 3112 Charleston Road. Assisting PPVFD personnel were firefighters with the Gallipolis, Ohio, Fire Department.
Bryant said the home was fully engulfed upon arrival and two people were inside the home at the time of the fire — a mother and her child. Bryant said the mother and child were attempting to climb out of a bedroom window to safety but when the mother reached back for the child to assist them with their escape, the child ran back into the house and became entrapped. The child was later found inside the home and was pronounced dead on the scene. The mother was transported by personnel with Mason County EMS to Pleasant Valley Hospital to receive care. Names of neither the mother or child have been officially released, though the child was later identified through local sources as being a fourth-grade student at Roosevelt Elementary.
On Monday morning, Roosevelt Principal Tim Click said the school, along with support from Mason County Schools administration, had provided extra counselors to students to allow them to process the loss of their classmate and express their grief.
“We’re in shock,” Click said of the tragedy. “All of the staff here are sending our deepest sympathy to the family.”
Click said there are plans to have local firefighters talk to students about safe routes out of homes during a fire to give them a sense of security during this confusing time. Click said when school staff work with students on fire drills, it is stressed to them how “irreplaceable” they are.
“I tell them we can replace things, we can’t get a new you,” Click said.
During the course of fighting the fire Sunday morning, a firefighter with Point Pleasant was injured when falling through a floor and also suffered from some smoke inhalation, Bryant said. That firefighter was taken to Pleasant Valley Hospital for treatment of injuries and was later released. The majority of the firefighters were on the scene from the time of their call-out until around 8 a.m. Sunday, Bryant said.
The cause of the fire is undetermined. Following protocol in regard to fatal fires, personnel with the Office of the State Fire Marshal of West Virginia were called to the scene to investigate and determine what started the fatal blaze that also destroyed the home.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.