Investigators yet to determine cause of deadly fire in Calhoun C - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Investigators yet to determine cause of deadly fire in Calhoun Co.

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Ten minutes. That's how long firefighters said it takes for a mobile home to burn to the ground.

The Upper West Fork Fire Department arrived first on the scene of a fatal fire in Calhoun County that claimed the lives of a woman and her three young grandchildren on Thursday.

The victims have been identified as Darlene Gooslin, 57, Ryan Jackson, 7, Patricia Jackson, 6, and Aryanne, 5.

Another grandchild, David, and the children's father, Benjamin Jackson, suffered severe burns and were taken to Cabell-Huntington Hospital for treatment on Thursday.

Gooslin was helping raise her four grandchildren in the mobile home, located near Chloe.

The Upper West Fork Fire Department received a call about the blaze about 5 a.m. on Thursday. Crews dispatched at 5:02 a.m. and arrived at the scene in the Mud Fork area at approximately 5:25 a.m.

But Fire Chief Randy Perkins said by then, flames had destroyed the structure.

Officials with the West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office said they are still investigating what caused the fire.

"They were nice people," said Jimmy Harold, who lived near the family in the Mud Fork community. "Those kids didn't have a chance. It was a shame."

Because so little evidence remains, investigators said it will be difficult to determine whether the residents had a smoke detector. But Chief Perkins said it's essential for anyone living in a mobile home to install the device--that's because flames engulf the structure so quickly.

A day later, smoke still rises from the embers. Among the ruins, one can spot a bicycle, clothes, even coloring books. Firefighters said the fire briefly rekindled Thursday night because of the debris.

13NEWS met the girl who babysat the four children. She said she considered them family.

"The middle one...she used to sing so well," said Skyainae Grose, 13. "I don't understand why children had to lose their lives, and they were so young and they had so much potential."

Brittany Davis lives just yards away from the scene. She walked by the ruins on Friday afternoon for the first time. Davis said the tragedy prompted her to check the batteries in her smoke detector immediately.

"We had our little niece with us last night," Davis said. "And it got me scared it would happen to her."

Chief Perkins said Thursday's blaze was the first fatal fire his department has ever handled.

This is not the first time firefighters have visited the site. In October 2012, an outhouse on the same property caught on fire.