Officials continue to investigate fire that killed four foster children in Clay County


    Officials continue to investigate a house fire that took the lives of four children in Clay County. (WCHS/WVAH)

    Officials are continuing to investigate a house fire that took the lives of four foster children in Clay County.

    The West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office said four children were killed in an overnight fire at a home in the 600 block of Main Street in the town of Clay.

    The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources confirmed the children who were killed were in foster care.

    “Today was a tragic event for four young foster children,” Linda Watts, commissioner for DHHR’s Bureau for Children and Families, said. “We are truly saddened by the loss experienced.”

    Officials said an 8-year-old girl, 4-year-old girl, 3-year-old girl and 6-month-old boy were killed in the fire.

    “When it’s kids, it’s really, really hard," Lizemore Volunteer Fire Department EMS Director Missy Friend said.

    A 2-year-old boy, a teenager and two adults were able to escape the home. Their conditions have not been released at this time.

    “With this home being such an older home that it is, this fire was very fast moving and once it got going it really took off," Deputy Fire Marshal Jason Baltic said. “The ones that got out were lucky when they did.”

    Officials said there were functioning smoke detectors in the the home, and they do not think the fire is suspicious.

    “As of now, I have no suspicion that this was an intentionally set fire. This was just a sad accident," Baltic said.

    Firefighters from the Lizemore and Clay fire departments responded to the fire at about 11:20 p.m. Saturday and remained at the scene through Sunday afternoon.

    “I want to commend these firemen and EMS personnel. These ladies have been here since 11:20 last night. Anything we asked of them they did, and they were right here the whole time with us," Baltic said.

    At this time, the victims' names have not been released.

    No other information has been released at this time. Eyewitness News has a crew on scene and will have continuing, team coverage throughout the day.

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