The Richmond Register

February 1, 2014

Three bodies found after fire near Union City

By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — Three bodies were discovered Saturday morning after a house burned on Oakley Wells Road.

According to Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy, the Madison County Fire Department responded just before midnight Friday to a burning, single-story house that was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. They extinguished the blaze, but were unable to search the scene until later Saturday morning.

Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison said he confirmed two deaths at 9:40 a.m. and the third at 10:15 a.m.

Purdy said the bodies have not been identified. The owner of the house at 2583 Oakley Wells Road told police it was rented, but investigators are unsure if the bodies are those of the tenants.

The bodies have been sent to Frankfort for autopsies by the state Medical Examiner's office.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but does not appear suspicious, Purdy said.

Cornelison said there appeared to be no electrical service to the frame structure. Firewood was stacked outside.

County firefighters were joined by the coroner, KSP arson investigator Pat Alford, other state police personnel and a state Fire Marshal in searching the scene, Purdy said.

This was the second structure fire reported Friday on Oakley Wells Road, which runs from near Union City to College Hill Road in rural northeastern Madison County.

County Fire Chief Jim Cox said the county, Waco and Union City fire departments responded early Friday afternoon to and extinguished a fire at opposite end of the road from where the fatal fire occurred that night. He described the first fire as “textbook” and said it was easily extinguished. However, about half of the house, built partially underground, was destroyed.

No one was injured in that fire, which remains under investigation, the fire chief said.

The three fire fatalities are the fourth in rural Madison County in a little more than four months.

Cornelison said he recently was notified that DNA tests confirmed human remains found after a Sept. 26 fire on Whitlock Road near Valley View were those of Walter Liebengood.