Three people died in a tragic house fire on Thursday, March 14 in the Windy Community of Wayne County. A fourth person was rescued from the residence by a neighbor and survived the blaze, according to information released by officials.
Douglas Walker, 53, was pronounced dead at the scene of the house fire on Highway 1009. Firefighters stated that Douglas Walker was found near the rear of the house, near where investigators have stated the blaze began.
Melvina Walker, 60, and her grandson, Jaimie Elliott, 3, were rescued from a bedroom in the home by members of the Susie Fire Department. They were transported to Wayne County Hospital, where they later died.
This marked the first time that the Susie Fire Department had responded to a scene that involved fatalities, and it was difficult for volunteers with the department.
“This was the first fatality that most members of this department have had to deal with,” said Susie Fire Chief Kelly Ragan. “It is tough for them, especially when you have a three-year-old involved.”
This marks the first fire fatality in Wayne County since 2008, when two people died in separate blazes.
Ragan said his department was notified of the fire at approximately 10:30 p.m. Thursday. When they arrived at the scene, much of the back of the residence was engulfed in flames and fire was coming out the roof.
A female, identified by neighbors as Samantha Gregory, was pulled from the home by a neighbor before the fire department arrived.
The Susie Fire Department was on the scene of the blaze until about 5:30 a.m., according to Ragan. Kentucky State Police and arson investigators were on the scene at that point. The Susie Fire Department was called back to the scene at about 6:45 a.m. to extinguish several areas where fire sparked back up.
Ragan expressed appreciation to all the emergency workers who helped at the scene. The Monticello Fire Department provided tanker support to the Susie Fire Department and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department and Wayne County EMS were instrumental at the scene.
“I am proud of my men and I just want to thank everybody who helped at the scene. Everyone worked together so well,” said Ragan.
According to a report issued by Kentucky State Police, the preliminary investigation shows that the fire began in a bathroom near the back of the house. An exact cause of the fire has not been determined, but no foul play is suspected.
The investigation continues to be headed by Detective Brian Lewis, with the Kentucky State Police.
According to Wayne County Coroner Forrest Hicks, bodies of the three victims were transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Frankfort for autopsies on Friday, March 15.
Funeral services were scheduled for last week for all three of the victims.
Kayla Ford and Jared Futrell were formally sentenced to 25 years in prison each by Circuit Judge James Bowling, Jr. on Wednesday, March 13 in Wayne Circuit Court.
Lord and Futrell were convicted of murder by a local jury on February 18 in connection with the July 2011 death of her 17-month-old son, Staten Stephenson.
The jury recommended a 25 year sentence for each defendant.
Bowling followed that recommendation last week as Lord and Futrell appeared before him for the formal sentencing. Both defendants, through their attorneys, had filed motions for a new trial. Bowling overruled those motions.
“This is one of the saddest cases I have ever sat on,” stated Bowling, as he proceeded with sentencing.
Both defendants were given credit for 345 days for time served.
Defense attorneys requested that the defendants also be given credit for time when they were released on bail, but were still under restrictions by the court. Bowling denied both those requests.
Bowling informed both Lord and Futrell of their right to appeal the verdict, which he noted would be reviewed by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
there should be several things cleared up after that meeting. He added that after he returned from the meeting he plans to form committees to work on specific areas of a merger.
Hamm noted that two major issues that will need to be addressed first are the configuration of the school and staffing. He added that these two issues will need to take priority when merger discussions begin.
He also stated that he planned to tour the Wayne County campus later this week, and that Superintendent Dalton planned to tour the Monticello School facilities as well.
An internal investigation at the Wayne County Detention Center has resulted in charges against a local man. According to Wayne County Jailer Ray Upchurch, Willard Kay Allen, II, 26, of Monticello, was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance first degree.
Allen was a deputy jailer at the detention center, and Upchurch said he was terminated immediately after being charged. Allen was under investigation due to information that Upchurch received about Allen allegedly bringing contraband into the facility.
Allen was lodged in Wayne County Detention Center on a $5,000 cash bond.
“I have not and I will not tolerate contraband at the detention center by the public or an employee,” stated Jailer Upchurch. “Anyone caught bringing in contraband, whether it be the public, an inmate, or an employee, will be charged. As in the past, I will continue to strive to run a clean jail.”