Neighbors attempted to rescue family in Huntington house fire

Local News

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – The fourth victim in a house fire in Huntington was found around 1:45 p.m. on Monday. Firefighters were dispatched to the 2800 block of Cottage Street a little after 5:30 a.m. Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader says neighbors attempted to rescue the family inside.

Odessa May and her son Brandon Wiplen say that they passed by the house at around 5:15 a.m. on their way to visit another neighbor and didn’t see the fire. The fire was reported 15 minutes later.

When May and Wiplen heard this, they quickly ran over along with several other neighbors to try and rescue the family inside. Wiplen and another neighbor broke through the front door to find 30-year-old Joseph Dontae Keeton collapsed on the other side.

We drug him out and one of my buddies drug the guy on up to the road and I tried to get into the house because they said there (were) kids in there.

Brandon Wiplen

Crews attempted to perform CPR, but the man had died.

Before the fire crews were on scene, several neighbors attempted to warn the family to get out of the house by banging on the sides of the house and attempting to enter the home. By the time the crews were on scene, the house was already fully in flames.

The mans body as well as two other children were found shortly after the fire was extinguished. According to Chief Rader, due to the extensive damage, recovering the third child’s body took several hours.

This is the complete list of the victims, according to Bryan Chambers, director of communications for the City of Huntington:

  • Joseph Dontae Keeton 30
  • Kiana Lashay Keeton 8
  • Korbin Allen Rashawn Leonard 3
  • Kyson Leeland Keeton 2

When asked why they ran over to the burning structure, neighbors say it’s what neighbors in Huntington do.

People may look at Huntington as bad and whatever, but we all stick together when it comes down to it.

Odessa May

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