Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

August 27, 2013

Investigation: Fatal Bramwell house fire of ‘undetermined’ origin

By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BRAMWELL — The cause of a house fire that claimed the life of a Mercer County man has been ruled undetermined.

 Bobby Lee Lewis, 66, of Freeman died in the Aug. 12 blaze on Bowen Lane in the town of Bramwell. The structure was fully involved when firefighters arrived on scene.

Assistant State Fire Marshal Scott Rodes said the cause of the fire has been ruled undetermined. But the scene investigation remains open by the state fire marshal’s office.

“Based upon the total amount of damage to the structure, I was unable to determine an exact cause of the fire,” Rodes said. “Usually in those cases the investigation remains open and ongoing until we receive definitive proof one way or another.”

Rodes said approximately 80 percent of the structure was destroyed by fire.

“When there is so much damage at a fire scene we have to rule it as an undetermined fire just because there is not enough evidence remaining at the scene for us to label it one way or another,” Rodes said.

Lewis was the sole occupant of the house at the time of the fire.

He was found deceased inside of the structure by firefighters.

Crews with the Bramwell Volunteer Fire Department, Montcalm Volunteer Fire Department, Northfork Volunteer Fire Department, Green Valley Volunteer Fire Department and Bluewell Volunteer Fire Department all battled the blaze. The Bluefield Rescue Squad was also dispatched to the scene.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com