WSAZ - Local News and Breaking News Coverage for West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky

UPDATE: Site of Charleston's Deadliest Fire Demolished

By: Rahel Solomon, Brooks Jarosz, WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Rahel Solomon, Brooks Jarosz, WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 8/7/13 @ 1:20 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Neighbors say they are relieved that the scene of the deadliest fire in Charleston is gone.

Nine people, including seven children were killed last March when a home on Arlington Avenue caught fire.

Since the tragedy, neighbors have wanted the house torn down.

Wednesday, bulldozers with Loftis & Sons were demolishing the house. Neighbors who live near the house tell WSAZ.com crews have been prepping the site for demolition the past couple of weeks.

Neighbors say crews took one wall of the house down at a time Wednesday as many who live nearby watched.

The memorial to honor those killed still sits on the sidewalk near the home.

Neighbors say the healing process is still the hardest part because they still get emotional when they think of the children who lost their lives in that fire.



UPDATE 3/23/13 @ 8:00 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- One year after the deadliest fire in Charleston history, a community continues to struggle with the deaths.

"You could hear those kids screaming and that's what I heard for nights and nights and nights," neighbor Cassidy Means said.

Means says for weeks she continued to have nightmares about the fire on Arlington Avenue on Charleston's West Side that killed seven children and two adults.

The youngest child killed was 18 months old and the oldest, just eight.

Means said she was a frequent babysitter for the children. She said the fire was so devastating she had to be home schooled just to avoid the daily walk past the charred home that still stands.

"I just couldn't stay in school no more because everyday I had to walk to the bus stop and see their school bus stop," she said.

Tony White lives on the same block as the family killed in the fire. He said the fire hit the entire block hard.

"I was devastated," White said. "I mean especially over the children."

Since the fire, White said he takes extra precautions for his family's safety.

"After I heard about it and seen it," White said. "I went out and bought all new smoke detectors. I believe I got seven or eight in there total...That way I didn't have to worry about my family and stuff when I was gone."

The March 24, 2012 fire marks the deadliest fire in Charleston's history.

Fire officials have never determined the cause of the fire but say they do not believe it was suspicious.

UPDATE 2/4/13 @ 6:45 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A house fire that took the lives of nine people leaves behind a painful reminder because the home is still standing.

Neighbors tell WSAZ.com that since the tragedy, their street has become a ghost town.

It was the deadliest fire in Charleston's history -- claiming nine lives, including seven children in late March 2012. It broke out along Arlington Avenue. Only one person was able to escape.

The owner of that home had rented the place to the victims. Her lawyer tells WSAZ.com she wants to sell the house and the property.

The home is snow covered and boarded up now but still shows signs of what happened. Neighbors say they've waited and want to see it torn down soon.

"Every time we come out the front door that's the first thing we see," neighbor Cassidy Means said. "Me and my mom sit on the back porch when it's nice out -- we can't sit on the front anymore; we can't."

For Means and her mom, the pain is constant. They say they feel like guardians of a sacred place that was once a place of laughter and happy times. They would like to see a memorial set up, calling the house an eyesore in the neighborhood.

"It's more like a ghost town anymore," Roxann Means said. "I'd like to see the house come down, but it's not going to change the fact that we know what happened there."

The city has taken complaints about the property and has encouraged the owner to clean it up and tear the house down. Her lawyers says she plans to sell the house and hopes it will be demolished soon. The Means say another neighbor has already proposed to buy it.

"It just surprised me, it shocked me," Cassidy means said. "I would have never thought anyone would have the courage to do it."

Lawyers could not say when the house will come down or what will go in its place.

Investigators say the cause of the deadly fire may never be known. Firefighters say there were three smoke detectors in the house, but only one was working.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/1/12 @ 10:25 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Nine months after the deadliest fire in Charleston's history, Talma Isabell is entering the holiday season without her beloved daughter and seven grandchildren.

The family was killed on March 25 when a fire destroyed their home along Arlington Avenue. It claimed the lives of mother Alisha Carter-Camp, 26, and children Emanuel Jones, 18 months, Elijah Scott, 3, Timothy Bryan Carter-Camp, 7, Jeremiah Carter-Camp, 3, Keahana Carter-Camp, 8.

The community at Maranatha Fellowship Church in St. Albans has been helping Isabell and her family through the tragedy, and held a gala Saturday night to raise funds for other families facing hardship.

Isabell spoke at the gala and expressed her gratitude for the support, which she says has helped her tremendously through the healing process.

"[The fire] was big and it was devastating," she said. "But we serve a God that takes care of big tragedies and makes big blessings out of them."

Isabell says she spent last Christmas at Alisha's house with the children. She says although their lives were taken away, the memories they made together are gifts that will last forever.

"Of course we're going to think about the time we had last year, but thank God for that wonderful time," she said. "Thank God we have that memory of a happy, positive time."

Becky Lemley, leader of the outreach ministry at Maranatha Fellowship Church, says the church couldn't have helped Isabell's family without the community's generosity and support.

She says church members plan to pay it forward by helping other families in need.

"Communities from all around came to help us, so we want to be a part of that and give some help back out to those communities," she said.

Isabell says that help has made going into this holiday season more bearable.

"Our hearts will be sad...we'll talk about it and I'm sure we'll cry," she said. "But I plan to feed on the good times we had."

Isabell is now living with two more of her grandchildren, a nine-year-old and a 14-year-old, along with her daughter Latasha Jones-Isabell - the only survivor of the fire.

She says their presence has been a godsend to her in the healing process.



UPDATE 10/8/12 @ 9 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – It’s been more than six months since the deadliest fire in Charleston’s history, but the community is still trying to heal.

Nine people were killed on March 25 when a fire destroyed their home along Arlington Avenue. Seven of the victims were young children.

Two of those children were students at Shoals Elementary School. That school united to make sure a deadly fire like this never happens again.

It’s been a difficult year for Talma Isabell. In March, she lost a daughter and five grandchildren in a deadly fire.

"Everyday is a new challenge,” Isabell said. “But you learn. You learn to deal with it."

Two of those children, Keahana Carter-Camp and Timothy Carter-Camp, were students at Shoals Elementary School -- a school that’s also still trying to make sense of this tragedy.

"I walk in the classrooms and remember them fondly, and it's still really alive in our hearts and in our minds,” Shoals Elementary Principal David Anderson said.

But as Fire Prevention Week gets underway, the school is kicking off their Never Again campaign. Anderson said a teacher approached him about starting the project at Shoals to make sure a tragedy like this never happens again.

"We're just trying to keep their memory alive and make children aware of how to be safe in a fire and to get fire alarms in homes just take care of our community and our children," Anderson said.

And they’re also keeping Keahana and Timothy’s spirit alive. The school is planting two trees in their honor so these young lives aren’t forgotten.

"It was an honor,” Isabell said. “It was most definitely an honor to keep it alive, the grand kids. But I want something positive for the children, so I hope this will be a positive day for them."

When the fire happened in March, the community stepped up to support the family and paid their funeral expenses.

Isabell said after the funerals were paid for, they had an extra $14,000. She said she donated that money to local fire departments so they could buy smoke detectors to pass out to other families in need.

Isabell said her daughter, Latasha Jones-Isabell, the only survivor from the fire, is still trying to cope. She said Latasha found out the city plans on tearing down the house next month.



UPDATE 4/5/12 @ 6:15 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A daughter and five grandchildren; gone in an instant. That harsh reality is just starting to settle in for a woman who lost much of her family in a house fire that’s being called the deadliest fire in Charleston’s history.

“To lose one is hard, but I started walking by all those caskets,” Talma Isabell said.

In one day, Talma had to bury a daughter and five grandchildren, and that wasn't even the toughest part. Hours after a fatal house fire, she had to identify the bodies.

“When I walked back and they lifted the sheet up, I said that's not a teenager. That's my daughter,” she said.

Her daughter, Lisa Carter-Camp was celebrating her 26th birthday and was planning a family cookout for the next day.

“She loved having family around,” Talma said. They were happy kids,” Talma said about her grandchildren. “When they would come to visit me they'd break up in the house like little chickens with their heads cut off.”

Overall, nine people died in the fire. Talma's other daughter; Latasha Jones-Isabell was the only survivor.

“I think Latasha's gonna need some help to get through this,” Talma said. “When I say help I mean some experienced help.”

Through her grief, Talma harbors no anger; not even towards the landlord, who firefighters say did not install enough properly working smoke detectors.

“It's not like it was something that's a million dollars,” Talma said. “It's something that I guess they (her family) should have stayed on her about.”

Now rather than trying to understand why, she's looking forward to the time when she can see their smiling faces again.

“I believe my grandchildren and my daughter are in heaven with my husband, so that gives me a sense of peace,” Talma said.



UPDATE 4/3/12 @ 7:55 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Charleston Mayor Danny Jones says city officials misidentified several victims of a house fire that killed two adults and seven children.

Jones apologized for the errors Monday. The mayor says that city officials should have done better.

Sisters Gabrielle Seals and McKenzie Seals were identified in a city news release issued the day of the March 24 fire only as "Kiki" and "Gigi." The news release also said both girls were 3-years-old. Gabrielle was 5-years-old and McKenzie was 3-years-old.

The news release also misspelled the names of 8-year-old Keahana Carter-Camp and 20-month-old Emmanuel Jones-Isabell.

Charleston Assistant Fire Chief Bob Sharp says officials were acting on initial, limited information.



UPDATE 3/31/12 @ 6:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Funeral services were held at the Maranatha Fellowship Church in Saint Albans for six of the victims in last week's deadly fire in Charleston, Saturday.

A somber day and a sense of heaviness upon the Maranatha Fellowship Church in Saint Albans.

"Anytime that someone loses their life in a tragedy such as this it is very heavy," Darren Powell, Senior Pastor at Maranatha Fellowship Church said. "But then when you multiply that by six different people, it's even heavier than usual."

Funeral services were held, Saturday, for 18-month-old Emanuel Jones, Elijah Scott, 3, Timothy Bryan Carter-Camp, 7, Jeremiah Carter-Camp, 3, Keahana Carter-Camp, 8, and Alisha Carter-Camp, 26.

A tragedy bringing hundreds of people together to offer support for the family.

"I just can't imagine what it would be like to lose that many family members at one time," family friend, Frances Samples said. "I know I would need all the help I could get and we're here to support them."

Family from all over the country flew in to say their final goodbyes to six of their loved ones.

"It's such a tragic occasion," James Davis, family said. "Some folks we haven't seen in a while because some people can't make it to the family reunion all of the time so you don't get a chance to see everybody but this has brought everybody out."

While they're still trying to make sense of this tragedy, they have each other and their faith getting them through this difficult time.

"I'm just trying to pick up, you know," Rodell Jones, biological aunt of Alisha Carter-Camp said. "With God being on my side, that's my strength. That's my strength."

One final farewell to a family who's lives were taken too soon.



UPDATE 3/30/12 @ 6:25 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Friends, family and community members will gather this weekend to remember the lives of six people who died in a house fire last weekend.

Six of the victims funerals are set for Saturday morning in Saint Albans, while three others will take place in Pittsburgh.

"The community is coming together, and our church certainly is because Telma has been a member for 30 years. We want to honor this family and such a tragedy that has taken place,” said Becky Lemley, the lay ministry coordinator for Maranatha Fellowship Church.

Maranatha Fellowship Church will have the visitation and funeral services for Alisha, Jeremiah, Timothy and Keahana Carter-Camp, along with Elijah Scott and Emmanuel Isabell.

A community rallying around the family has made the services possible. A donation drive raised more than $27,000 to help cover the cost.

"Man, I mean it's just been unbelievable. Thank you. I just want to say that now. Unbelievable," Uncle Jason Bausley said.

It’s what’s ahead that has Bausley struggling.

"Tomorrow, you know all the little caskets. Nothing can prepare you for that. All the support, it definitely helps, but tomorrow is going to be a rough day," Bausley said.

Six of the victims will be buried at Sunset Memorial Park, plots that were donated by Hospice.

The funeral service will be the largest Maranatha has ever held. Organizers are preparing for more than 1,200 people to attend.

"Now, you know that there is always subject to change, but at this point we feel we have everything going forward to make it a day of celebration -- a tragedy turned celebration," Lemley said.

The visitation will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Maranatha Fellowship Church. The funeral service will follow at 1 p.m.

Any donated money not spent on the funeral will go toward smoke detectors for people in need.



UPDATE 3/29/12 @ 8:25 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The community has shown a tremendous amount of support for the victims' families of the house fire in Charleston.

Maranatha Fellowship Church and West Virginia Radio Corporation is sponsoring an event called Circle of Hope Thursday to raise money to help the families.

They will be collecting money to help pay for the funerals of the nine victims. Any leftover funds will go to the purchase of smoke detectors for people in the communities.

If you would like to donate you can stop by West Virginia Radio's offices at 1111 Virginia Street in Charleston from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The deadly fire happened early Saturday morning at a home on Arlington Avenue.

They know there were some lit candles in the front of the house before the fire broke out, but fire investigators aren't sure if that was the cause.

Firefighters found three smoke detectors in the house, but only one was working.

The home is being considered a total loss and will have to be demolished.

Funeral arrangements have been made through Durgan Funeral Home in Beckley.

The funeral for all nine victims will take place Saturday at Marantha Fellowship Church in St. Albans at 1 p.m.



UPDATE 3/28/12 @ 6:33 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- There are new details emerging as investigators sift through the pieces of the deadliest fire in the history of Charleston.

Now we are learning we may never know what caused the fire to start.

Firefighters say they are beginning to work on a report. Investigators say it appears the cause will be ruled undetermined.

Nine lives were cut short on a home along Arlington Avenue on Charleston's West Side early Saturday morning.

Funeral arrangements have been made through Durgan Funeral Home in Beckley.

The funeral for all nine victims will take place Saturday. The location is still being worked out.

They know there were some lit candles in the front of the house before the fire broke out, but fire investigators aren't sure if that was the cause.

Firefighters found three smoke detectors in the house, but only one was working.

The home is being considered a total loss and will have to be demolished.

Turning a dark day into a lesson learned, some of the victims' biological family is trying to make a difference. They say they want to be role models for the community, something they say only takes about five minutes and in the end could save lives.

"We got a tragedy, you know, going on here so that's what I want to see when I go into someone's apartment -- that's the first thing I want to see is a smoke detector," Rodell Jones said.

To do that, they called on the fire department to help out. They installed smoke detectors in a home that's been without for more than a year.

"A smoke detector is basically an alarm clock, and it wakes you up," Firefighter Aleesha Samples said. "The smoke is not going to wake you up, so the smoke detector is very important to have because it's your first line of defense in a fire."

It's a defense that was lacking at the home where the deadly fire broke out. Now a memorial and a message lives on about the importance of a small investment.

"It really hurts because I think, if there were smoke detectors, they would have been still here like I am," Carmella Turner said. "They would have been here."

It's a life-long security planned placed in every bedroom and on every floor. Some last up to 10 years before they're needed to be replaced.



UPDATE 3/28/12 @ 12:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The nine lives lost in the deadliest fire in Charleston's history will be honored on Saturday.

Funeral arrangements have been made through Durgan Funeral Home in Beckley.

The funeral for all nine victims will be held Saturday. The location is still being worked out.

The fire happened at a home along Arlington Avenue early Saturday morning. Two adults and seven small children under the age of 8 died in the fire.

The funeral will be open to the public, according to a spokesperson with Durgan Funeral Home.



UPDATE 3/27/12 @ 6:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The fallout from the deadliest fire in Charleston’s history continues.

The fire broke out at a house along Arlington Avenue early Saturday morning. Two adults and seven children were not able to get out of the house.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen the emotional impact this tragedy has had on family and friends of the victims. It is also taking a major toll on the people who tried their very best to save them.

In front of the house sits a makeshift memorial where names of family members are listed in a diary of one of the little girls who died. Those same names will be etched in the minds of firefighters forever.

“The kids are the worst, and these guys had to pass them from person to person, and you're trying to do CPR,” Charleston Fire Chief Chuck Overstreet said.

Try as they might, first responders were unable to save the lives of seven children and two adults.

“Just trying to find a way through the flame and then trying to find a way through the smoke and you don't know where anybody is,” Overstreet said. “Then when you finally find people and you have to try to bring them back to life and you can't do it.”

It's taking an emotional toll that some find too tough to handle.

“Some of the guys, there's one or two that are saying, 'I don't know if I can do this anymore,’” Overstreet said.

To help them cope, the Charleston Fire Department has programs in place to help with the stress. Chief Chuck Overstreet was on the scene and knows firsthand what his crew is going through as they continue asking questions that have no answers.

“How come we couldn't get in here? Could we have done this? You always question your tactics, even though you did the best you can do,” Overstreet said.



UPDATE 3/26/12 @ 7 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Several neighbors are already trying to make their homes safer in light of a devastating fire that killed nine people this weekend on Arlington Avenue.

The fire broke out shortly before 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Among the victims were two adults and six children. A seventh child died later at the hospital.

People have been adding stuffed animals and other mementos to a makeshift memorial outside the house.

Karley Bradshaw, 9, went to school with two of the kids who died this weekend.

"They were funny. They were fun, everything you would want in a person really," Bradshaw says.

The loss is something neighbors are struggling to understand and prevent from happening again.

"It's just a horrible thing to know that so many people lost their lives in such a short period of time without anybody being able to do anything about it," Darlena Washington says.

Washington checked her smoke detectors soon after the fire. She's also realized she could use more and plants to buy extras this weekend.

“If this (house) would ever burn, it probably would go as fast, if not faster than that one down there," Washington says.

Sandra Counts came to the home to see what had happened.

Like Washington, she's planning to add more detectors in her home.

"You never know, and you want to make sure that everybody's safe. And, you just feel so devastated that children's lives are lost," Counts says.

Firefighters say they've had a few people walk up to the Cora Street station to find out more about smoke detectors.

For a long time, the burned house will sit as a grim reminder of why they could be crucial to saving a life.

"These children don't get to grow up. They don't get to live and be happy,” Counts says.

WSAZ.com talked to about a dozen neighbors, all of whom said they have working smoke detectors in their homes. But, some worried they may not be in the best places in their homes.

Some people said they don't have them in or near their bedrooms, and they know there's a risk they could sleep right through an alarm.

Fire fighters also urge people to put together an escape plan for their families and practice it at least twice a year.



UPDATE 3/26/12 @ 5:50 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Only a few days after losing three of her grandchildren, a grandmother is speaking out about their lives.

Melissa Camp is the grandmother of Keahna, B.J. (Timothy) and Jeremiah Camp. She told WSAZ.com she's grateful to have the time she did with her grandkids.

"Jeremiah would say, ‘Bye bye. Have a great day’. He would say, ‘Paw-paw have a nice day’," Grandfather Timothy Camp said.

Now Timothy and Melissa keep pictures as reminders of the kids.

Saturday, smoke from one of the worst fires in Charleston’s history took their lives.

"Somebody from the hospital called us and told us that my grandkids were there, and they were in a fire, and they're gone," Melissa said.

Through all the hurt, Melissa remembers the good times. Like the last time she saw her three babies -- Keahna's birthday party on March 2.

"She wanted ice cream cake. She liked those nasty salt and vinegar potato chips. So, I got her those. We got her some presents. She wanted some clothes, which are still here," Melissa said.

Although the three kids were only at Melissa’s home every other weekend, family members say it's a place they didn't want to leave.

"The day my son took Keahna home, March 2, on her birthday, she was sitting on the couch. She did not want to go. He had to physically pick her up and put her in the car," Melissa said.

Difficult moments are still ahead for the Camp family. Jeremiah's birthday is May 9 when he would have been 4 years old.

"All three of my grand babies, I'm going to miss them. I love them. I am just so glad that I got to spend Christmas, Thanksgiving with them and two of their birthdays. I'm just glad I had them as much as I did have them," Melissa said.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.

Family members are now trying to figure out how to pay for all four funerals.



UPDATE 3/26/12 @ 5:50 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Death is difficult for anyone to deal with, but it's especially tough for children to understand.

Friends and classmates of the seven children who died in a house fire Saturday morning are trying to cope with their loss.

The two children who were old enough to go to school went to Shoals Elementary.

Inside a first-grade classroom draped with a black ribbon, sits an empty desk where Timothy Camp would sit and draw pictures of his family.

“That's one thing I’ll remember about him the most is that it was important to him to make his mom happy,” Timothy’s teacher, Kristen Dickens, said.

Dickens remembers the last picture Timothy drew. It was for his mom's birthday. Their family came together to celebrate this past weekend, but the house caught fire; killing nine people including Timothy and his big sister, Keahna Camp, who also went to Shoals.

“They were not only brother and sister, but they seemed like they were each others best friend,” Principal David Anderson said. “They laughed and smiled and were excited about school.”

To help everyone cope, about a dozen extra counselors were on hand throughout the day. Students also found comfort in their pencils and crayons as they wrote notes and drew pictures for a memory wall.

Meanwhile, Dickens’ last memory of Timothy is his excitement about his big weekend that nobody expected to be his last.

“It's just heartbreaking to think about it, but I'm also happy that I know that it was a really happy day for him,” Dickens said. “He was really excited. I'm happy that he had that really great last day with his mom and his whole family together.”



UPDATE 3/26/12 @ 10 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- As reality sets in and a community copes with the lost of nine precious lives, questions still linger on what caused that deadly fire.

The fire investigation team is meeting Monday to discuss the deadly fire on Arlington Avenue in Charleston. So far investigators still don't have a cause of the fire -- but they believe it's accidental.

Nine people, including seven small children died, making it the worst fire in Charleston's history. We're told all the victims died of smoke inhalation.

Two of the victims were students at Shoals Elementary in Charleston. Counselors were at the school Monday to help the students and teachers deal with their loss.

The school has posted a sign outside the school that reads "Our thoughts are with the family of Keahna and Timothy."

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/25/12
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The investigation into what caused Saturday morning's deadly fire in Charleston continues, Sunday.

A small memorial now stands in front of the home where nine people died following a fire. Sunday, as the community begins to make sense of this tragedy, investigators continue to piece together this puzzle.

"We're over here again to go through it to make sure we answer the questions and if we have any questions that we need answered, then to day is a good day to do it," said Sgt. Bobby Eggleton, Charleston Police Department. "Things are quiet here, we can kind of sit back and deduct kind of what went on here."

The ATF, Charleston Fire Department and Charleston Police Department were back at the house, Sunday. Sgt. Eggleton said they're not looking for anything in particular,but said maybe something new will stand out.

On Saturday, the ATF brought in an accelerant sniffing dog which found nothing. Eggleton said that means they don't believe it was intentionally set.

"We just want to make sure we cross all of our T's and dot all of our I's to make sure that's not the case and as far as we know right now we're right," he said. "It's not an arson."

But the answer into what actually caused this deadly fire may still take days to learn.

There's also been some confusion into whether or not the home had working smoke detectors inside. We can tell you there was one working smoke detector found in the kitchen. In fact, when WSAZ news crews were on scene, Sunday, they could still hear the smoke detector going off.



UPDATE 3/25/12 @ 6:55 p.m.
ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Sunday morning service at Maranatha Fellowship Church in St. Albans was filled with heavy hearts.

"This is just hard. We're fighters. My mom is a strong woman. She's a fighter," Bucky Isabell, a relative of six house fire victims said.

Bucky's mother, Talma Isabell, started bringing her family to Maranatha decades ago.

Early Saturday morning five of her grandchildren and her daughter died in a house fire that overall killed 9 people. Another daughter, Latasha Jones-Isabell was the only survivor.

"It's traumatizing," Bucky said. "She's been through so much. I can't imagine to be in her shoes and actually be there to witness it."

In the midst of a family tragedy, their church family is stepping in to help.

"People just got up and spontaneously started giving money on the altar," Jay Arn, the church administrator said. "She (Talma) is a rock to other people. Now, in her time of need you're seeing her brothers and sisters in Christ surrounding her and giving her someone to lean on. It's usually the other way around."

They're grateful for every bit of support as the try to move on; knowing much of the family's youngest generation has already moved on -- somewhere else.

"There wasn't a single kid there that you wouldn't be attached to. They were happy, they were playful," Bucky said. "To know that they're with my father right now in heaven, that keeps us going and happy."

If you would like to donate to families of the fire victims, contact Maranatha Fellowship Church.

2910 Kanawha Terrace
St. Albans, WV 251777
(304) 722-6271
www.mfctoday.org



UPDATE 3/25/12 @ 12:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The death toll from a house fire in Charleston has now risen to nine.

Seven-year-old Timothy Bryan Camp was taken off of life support between 8:30 and 9, Sunday morning.

Alisha Carter-Camp, Alex Seal, Keahna Camp, Jeremiah Camp, Elijah Scott, Emanuel Jones, and twins Kiki and Gigi were also killed when a fire broke out at a house on Arlington Avenue about 3:30 Saturday morning.

Alisha and Alex were the only two adults. The children's ages ranged from 18 months to eight years.

The only survivor was 24-year-old Latasha Jones Isabell.

Investigators say the fire does not appear to be suspicious. They believe it started on the first floor, in the front of the home.

They say the victims died of smoke inhalation.

There was only one smoke detector in the home and investigators say it was not installed properly.

The home is a rental property. The landlord lives in Mammoth, West Virginia and Mayor Danny Jones says last month the landlord agreed to the inspection. The inspector went to the home, but Alisha wasn't there and one of the children asked for him to come back when she was there.



UPDATE 3/25/12 @ 12 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Family and friends of eight people who died in a house fire after a birthday party gathered Saturday night in their honor.

A candlelight vigil was held at the State Capitol on Saturday night to remember Alisha Carter-Camp, Alex Seal, Keahna Camp, Jeremiah Camp, Elijah Scott, Emanuel Jones, and twins Kiki and Gigi.

Alisha and Alex were the only two adults. The children's ages ranged from 18 months to eight years.

They all died when a fire broke out at Alisha Carter-Camp's home on Arlington Avenue in Charleston about 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

They had all gathered to celebrate Alisha's birthday. Saturday she would have turned 26.

At the vigil Saturday night, Alisha's friends said she was probably looking down on them and saying, "I made it up."

Family, friends and community members joined together under the rotunda of the State Capitol, a chance to pray, cry and hold onto one another.

For many of the family members, they're still not past the initial shock, but as the reality sets in, they're clinging to each other, knowing their lives have been changed forever.

The family told WSAZ.com that it's a nightmare and the worst is year to come, when they have to lay them to rest.

But they say, at the same time, their strength comes from remember the good times they had.

Family member James Bausley told WSAZ.com, "You can't do nothing but keep going on. You know we can get down in the bed and lay down and die beside them or we can keep going and keep their memory going."

We also spoke with Ron Isabell, who is also family. "Them kids, it breaks my heart, but we'll make it," he said.

Jason Bausley said, "I just want to, you know, honor Lisa (Alisha) who was just a wonderful mother and I know if there was anything she could have done to get out of that house and get those kids out, she would have done it you know."

There were two survivors of the fire. Seven-year-old Timothy Bryan Camp, who goes by BJ, was rescued and is in critical condition at CAMC. His family says he received severe burns and is brain dead. They say they will take him off life support so he can go above and be with his siblings.

The other survivor was 24-year-old Latasha Jones Isabell.

Investigators say the fire does not appear to be suspicious. They believe the fire started on the first floor, in the front of the home.

They say the victims died of smoke inhalation.

There was only one smoke detector in the home and investigators say it was not installed properly. The home is a rental property. The landlord lives in Mammoth, West Virginia and Mayor Danny Jones says last month the landlord agreed to the inspection. The inspector went to the home, but Alisha wasn't there and one of the children asked for him to come back when she was there.



UPDATE 3/24/12 @ 9 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.VA. (WSAZ) -- This fatal fire is leaving so many in the community asking "why".

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones says it's been a tough day for the entire city.

"When you start thinking about young children," Mayor Jones said. "This is as bad as it gets."

Neighbors say words are hard to come by after fire tore through the home, killing eight people, including six small children.

"By the time I heard yelling," Cassidy Means said, "that's when I woke up I had gone out there and I saw that first thing I didn't notice my mom or the woman, I saw straight through the screen door. The house was in flames."

Means lives across the street from where the fire happened. She said those who died weren't just neighbors, they were friends.

"They had a good life," Means said. "Friends and family loved them. The sweetest little kids that you will ever meet and so friendly. Me and my boyfriend over there, daniel, had come over there everyday and played with them."

In fact, means said Friday night she promised two of the victims two of the children that she would see them first thing in the morning.

"It hurts me because I promised her I would be there in the morning when she woke up," Means said. "Yet, she woke up to smoke and flames."

One of the victim's, Alisha Carter-Camp, worked at the Holiday Inn Express in Charleston. Her boss said this tragedy is being felt by everyone who works there.

"We try to hire for personality and teachablilty and Lisa had the personality," Rusty Eaton said. "She had one of those infectious smiles that she never met a stranger. She got along great with her co-workers."

Others who stopped by the scene are trying to make sense of what happened.

"Oh, it's terrible," Neighbor Linda McKeny said. "They must not have had fire alarms or something because nobody could have gotten out of that."

So many questions about what went wrong while the end result is undeniable. Eight lives lost in a tragedy, that for many, will never make sense.



UPDATE 3/24/12 @ 3:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The city of Charleston is investigating one of the worst fires in the city's history that killed eight people, including six children.

The fire started about 3:30 a.m. Saturday at a home on Arlington Avenue on the city's west side. Firefighters believe the fire started in a front room on the first floor.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones held a news conference Saturday afternoon along with several other city officials, including police and fire investigators.

All six of the victim's names were released during the news conference.


  • Alisha Carter-Camp - 26 years old
  • Alex Seal - adult
  • Keahna Camp - 8 years old
  • Jeremiah Camp - 3 years old
  • Elijah Scott - 3 years old
  • Kiki - 3 years old (twin)
  • Gigi - 3 years old (twin)
  • Emanuel Jones - 18 months old

    At this time, investigators say they believe all of the victims were asleep at the time of the fire and died of smoke inhalation.

    Mayor Jones says Latasha Jones Isabell, 24, was the only adult survivor of the fire.

    Timothy Bryan Camp, 7, also survived the fire and is listed in critical condition at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital.

    One neighbor tells WSAZ.com she woke up to Latasha Jones Isabell screaming outside for help. Cassidy Means says when she looked outside her window, she saw flames pouring out of the house.

    Means she called 911. By the time she had gotten off of the phone, a firetruck was already outside.

    Means said she asked Latasha where the kids were; everyone was still inside.

    "It hurts me because I promised her I would be there in the morning when she woke up yet she woke up to smoke and flames," Means said. "I'm just sorry to hear about these children. I just love them to death. They're amazing."

    Means described the victims as "the sweetest little kids you would ever meet."

    Mayor Jones said that emergency responders were on the scene of the fire within two minutes of the call. WSAZ has requested the 911 calls from Metro 911, but they have not been released yet.

    Jones says they were all at the home to celebrate Alisha's birthday. She would have turned 26 on Saturday.

    Mayor Jones says the home was rental property and city code requires multiple smoke detectors. Investigators say there was only one smoke detector in the home and it was not properly installed. The detector was installed under a cabinet.

    During the press conference Mayor Jones said that on February 28, a city building inspector stopped by the home on Arlington Avenue, but Alisha Carter was not home at the time. A juvenile who answered the door asked for the inspector to come back at a later time when she was available.

    It's unclear who lived here, but the mayor says it appears they would all stay there at least several times a week.

    "It's very hard on our firefighters, especially when there's children involved," Assistant Fire Chief Bob Sharp said. "This is very unusual for us. I believe this is the most victims we've had and I've been on the fire department for 26 years"

    Jones says this is the worst fire in Charleston's history since the 1940s, when seven firefighters were killed in a fire at Woolworth's Department Store on Capitol Street.

    "Carrying bodies in and out of this burnt place, you can imagine how stressful that is and the effect it would have on people," Mayor Jones said.

    A candlelight vigil for the family is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at the State Capitol steps.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 3/24/12 @ 1:16 p.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- We now know the name of one of the victim's in a fatal fire that killed eight people overnight.

    Rusty Eaton, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Express on Civic Center Drive in Charleston, says Lisa Carter's mother called him this morning, confirming her death.

    Today would have been Carter's 26th birthday.

    Eaton said Carter had an infectious smile and was well-liked.

    Carter, another adult, believed to be her boyfriend, and six children died in the fire that started about 3:30 a.m. Saturday in a home on Arlington Avenue.

    Carter lived at the home with her children and her sister's children.

    It is believed the group got together to celebrate Carter's birthday.

    Charleston Mayor Danny Jones says the house is a rental property and is owned by Delores Shamblin of Mammoth. Jones say city code required multiple smoke detectors in the house. Only one was found by firemen and it was improperly installed under a cabinet.

    One child did survive the fire, but is on life support at CAMC.

    No other names are being released at this time.

    All of the children were under the age of eight.

    Mayor Danny Jones tells WSAZ.com this is the worst fire in the city since the 1940s, when 7 firefighters died fighting a fire in the Woolworth Building.

    Officials with the city fire investigation unit, West Virginia State Fire Marshal and the ATF are on scene to determine the cause of the blaze.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest with this story.



    UPDATE 3/24/12 @ 10 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- New information has been released in a house fire that killed eight people.

    The fire was reported about 3:30 Saturday morning at a home on Arlington Avenue in Charleston.

    Charleston Police tell WSAZ.com it appears two families were living in the home. All victims were related.

    Mayor Danny Jones says two adults and six children died in the fire. A seventh child is in a local hospital on life support.

    No smoke detectors were found inside the home.

    Mayor Jones says this is the worst fire the city of Charleston has seen in 40 years.

    A press conference will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 3/24/12 @ 8:40 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Assistant Fire Chief Bob Sharp now confirms eight people have died in an early morning house fire.

    The fire was reported about 3:30 Saturday morning at a home on Arlington Avenue in Charleston.

    Sharp tells WSAZ.com that two adults and six children under the age of eight are dead.

    Sharp says a woman and a baby were injured and taken to the hospital. There's no word yet on their conditions.

    No names have been released at this time.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation.

    We have a crew on the scene.

    Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 3/24/12 @ 7:10 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Seven people are dead after a house fire in Charleston early Saturday morning, according to firefighters.

    The fire started about 3:30 a.m. on Arlington Avenue.

    Firefighters say there was a child's slumber party at the house.

    No word on the ages of those who died in the fire.

    Several others were also injured.

    The victim's names or how the fire started are not known at this time.

    We have a crew headed to the scene.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 3/24/12 @ 4:40 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Several people are on their way to the hospital after being rescued from a burning home Saturday morning.

    Dispatchers say a house on Arlington Avenue caught fire about 3:30 a.m.

    The initial report was that people were trapped inside the home.

    There's no word yet on how many people are being taken to the hospital or the extent of their injuries.

    Firefighters are still on scene.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    ORIGINAL STORY 3/24/12 @ 3:45 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Firefighters are responding to a house fire on Arlington Avenue in Charleston.

    Dispatchers tell WSAZ.com that flames are showing and there are people inside the home.

    There's no word yet on what started the fire.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 144070846