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Deadly fire ruled homicide, reward offered for information

November 17, 2021 GMT

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — The death of a man in a West Virginia house fire has been classified as a homicide, officials said.

Firefighters who responded to the blaze last December in Raleigh County found the body of homeowner Richard Rice Jr. inside the residence, news outlets reported, citing a statement Tuesday from the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office.

The West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office also responded and determined Rice died as a result of a homicide, the statement said. The agencies are working together to investigate.

The sheriff’s office said it is seeking help from the public and offered a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

Anyone with information can contact the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office or Crimestoppers.