Community mourns teen after fatal fire; family releases name

A family member of Marvin Collins says he loved playing guitar and was known as a jokester.
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 5:13 PM EST
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WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A community is mourning a teen who lost his life in a fire Wednesday evening.

The boy died after a house fire near Beech Fork Lake Marina, the West Virginia State Fire Marshal said.

Late Thursday afternoon, family told us the boy’s name -- Marvin Collins. They say Marvin was an eighth-grader at Wayne Middle School.

His stepmother Linda Copley says Marvin was a great kid who everyone loved. She says he enjoyed playing guitar and was known as a jokester.

The fire was reported just after 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 1100 block of Falls Branch Road in Lavalette.

Jason Ross says he was coming home from work Wednesday evening when he saw his neighbor’s home burning.

“I noticed the father out front waving and yelling for help,” Ross said. “The father said, ‘Please help, my son’s in there, my son’s in there, please help.’”

Ross says the front was engulfed, and he couldn’t find a back door. He says as smoke was billowing, he broke windows and yelled for the teen.

“Fire at that time had reached the back of the trailer, and it was coming out the back of the roof,” he said. “I heard no sounds or signs of movement.”

Ross, a parent himself, says he wishes there was more they could’ve done.

“It’s obviously the worst thing you could experience as a parent,” he said.

Copley says her husband is in the hospital on a ventilator after suffering damage to his lungs while he was trying to rescue his son.

She says she was at work Wednesday evening when she got a phone call about the fire.

She says her husband was outside working when the fire started, and they believe Marvin was in his bedroom asleep.

“Having a child inside, knowing that, it was horrific and very tragic,” Ross said.

The Wayne County School District released this statement to WSAZ:

”Wayne County Schools is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our students. In many ways, our school community becomes a second family, and the Wayne Middle School family is hurting today. The district is providing additional counseling support for WMS faculty and students. Our thoughts and prayers are with the student’s family and the Wayne Middle School community during this difficult time.”

The State Fire Marshal is now looking into a cause.