Island Fire Claims Second Victim

A fire that killed a Wheeling Island man July 7 at his home has now claimed his son.

James F. Klutch died Thursday from injuries he suffered while trying to rescue his father, James Klutch, from his burning home on North Front Street nearly three weeks ago.

James Klutch, 70, died at the fire scene while his son was severely burned and flown by medical helicopter to a burn center in Pittsburgh.

The tragedy is now threefold. The family was getting ready to make funeral arrangements for Marian Klutch, 68, who had died just two days before the fire consumed the family’s home.

Marian was James Klutch’s wife and James F. Klutch’s mother. A grandson and his girlfriend managed to escape the fire without serious injuries.

Wheeling Fire Department Investigator Steve Rogers worked with the state fire marshal’s office to determine the cause of the fire that devastated the family. Preliminary indications point toward an accidental electrical fire, Rogers said.

The fire was reported shortly before dawn on July 7 at the North Front Street home.

A double funeral was held in Wheeling for the couple on July 14 at New Life United Methodist Church, Wheeling Island. Funeral arrangements for James F. Klutch, who resided in Avondale, Ariz., are being handled by Altmeyer Funeral Home, Wheeling.