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'He will be missed': Man killed in Pittsylvania County house fire

Cause remains under investigation

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – The mobile home of Wesley Clay, 57, on Blue Ridge Drive in Gretna is now just a charred shell.

A family member who stopped by the house Thursday, but who declined to be interviewed, identified Clay as the victim.

“Very sad. I couldn’t believe it,” Kimberly Kornegay, a waitress at a restaurant near Clay's house, said about the news of his death.

Kornegay said the restaurant always looked out for Clay.

“He would come by here just about every morning and sit out here and smoke cigarettes or he would be going to the store when it’s really hot. My manager always told us to give him something cold to drink," said Kornegay.

According to radio communication between first responders at the scene Wednesday night, Clay was found inside the home near the front door.

"(The) Gretna fire department was first on scene and advised that there was a single wide mobile home fully involved. They made a quick exterior attack and then quickly moved interior," Pittsylvania County Deputy Public Safety Coordinator Mike Lee said.

Lee said the fire started around the furnace.

"We don’t believe it was the furnace because we don’t believe there was any gas to the residence and it was a gas heater. We are really puzzled right now," Lee said. “We did take some samples of the burned floor and things like that to see if there are any accelerants, meaning gas or anything of that sort that would help (the fire) burn more than normal.”

A puzzling and tragic situation, especially for people like Kornegay who knew Clay.

"When we waited on him, he would be real friendly; thank us, leave a tip. He’s going to be missed," Kornegay said.

The medical examiner in Roanoke will perform an autopsy on Clay to determine the cause of death.


About the Author:

Colter Anstaett

Colter Anstaett joined WSLS in January 2016 as the station’s Southside bureau reporter.

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