Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

State News

February 20, 2009

2 W.Va. firefighters killed fighting structure fire

CRAIGSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) — Two volunteer firefighters have died while fighting a fire in Nicholas County.

Craigsville Beaver Cottle Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tim Blake said in a statement Friday the two were killed after the department responded to a structure fire about 10 p.m. Thursday.

The state Fire Marshal’s office on Friday identified the victims as Lt. Johnnie Hammons, 49, and Timothy Nicholas, 26, both of Craigsville. Hammons was with the department for about 11 years and Nicholas served for about a year.

Reid Cook of the Fire Marshal’s office said the fire started in a camping trailer and spread to a nearby mobile home in the Cottle area.

The Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire and how the firefighters died.

“We want to know why this happened and how it can be prevented in the future,” Cook said.

Witness Joe Giovinazzo, whose wife owns a beauty shop nearby, said a man who lived in the mobile home and a woman who live in the camper escaped the fire.

“I didn’t even know any firemen had gone inside,” Giovinazzo said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was just stunned.”

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