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Victims Identified in Fatal South Wheeling Fire

Photo by Alan Olson

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct a mistake concerning the relationship between the victims.

WHEELING — The West Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday confirmed the two people who died last week in a fire at a Jacob Street residence as 77-year-old Commer Turner and 62-year-old Cathy Taylor.

The fire, which broke out at 4224 Jacob St. around 9 p.m. Oct. 6, was ruled to have been accidental and electrical in nature, according to Wheeling Fire Department investigators.

The fire is believed to have started on the first floor of the house before quickly spreading to engulf the residence.

Firefighters battled the blaze for more than an hour before it came under control.

Taylor was Turner’s step-daughter, and she recently had moved in with him from elsewhere in South Wheeling, according to family members.

A neighbor, Angelina Brunt, said the fire had begun and spread quickly.

“My husband came back from getting groceries, parked his truck back here to unload it, and there was no smoke,” she said last week. “Ten minutes later, he came back outside to move the truck and there were people screaming. … It had come all the way through the top (of the house) already.

“Before the time we even knew the fire was going on, it was already blazing out these windows,” she continued, gesturing to the rear of the house. “Nobody knew.”

Turner and Taylor were described as kind, friendly neighbors to Brunt’s family, who kept to themselves except to make friendly conversation when arriving or leaving home.

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