Fire Department Not Yet Ready to Identify Victim

Wheeling Fire Department Lt. Jon Barry said investigators are not yet prepared to release the identity of a woman who died Tuesday night in a fire that tore through a home on Wheeling Island.

The woman was unable to escape the 42 Kentucky St. home, which Barry said is owned by her adult daughter. The woman’s daughter exited the home unharmed.

Barry said that while the daughter may have identified her mother as the victim, investigators still have procedural steps they need to follow to confirm the identity.

He declined to comment on what the elderly woman may have been doing when the fire broke out, or why she was unable to exit the home.

“I’m sure we’ll know something soon,” Barry said.

The damage caused by the fire severely compromised the stability of the structure, which has slowed the department’s investigation into a possible cause, Barry pointed out.

“A part of the chimney fell through one of the floors so we’re being as careful as possible while conducting the investigation,” he said.