Belpre woman in Friday fire dies

BELPRE – A Belpre woman hospitalized following a Friday night fire died Sunday, according to the Belpre Police Department.

Belpre Police Chief E.D. Clevenger reported that his department received information Sunday from Cabell Huntington Hospital that Kimberly J. Harter, 52, of 1624 Hill St., Belpre, had succumbed to her injuries during the day Sunday while being treated at the hospital.

The Belpre Volunteer Fire Department was called out to Harter’s Hill Street home about 9 p.m. Friday. Officials said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but there are no indications of foul play or criminal activity in connection with the incident.

Upon arrival at the scene, fire units entered and extinguished a blaze that appeared to have started in the interior of the home, near a bathroom in the west side of the dwelling. Harter was found unconscious and unresponsive in the east interior of the home.

Her dog was also found in the home and had died from apparent smoke inhalation, according to reports from fire investigators.

Harter was initially taken to Camden Clark Medical Center, Memorial Campus in Parkersburg, appearing to be suffering from severe smoke inhalation. She was later flown to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va., for further treatment.

Belpre officials and the Ohio State Fire Marshall’s Office were conducting the investigation.

Clevenger said initial reports were that the smoke detectors in the home were not working, but they were.

“One was still going off when first responders forced entry into the home, the others had been exhausted and turned themselves off by that time,” he added.

Investigators will continue looking into the cause of the blaze.