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One dead in College Avenue blaze
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A fire Saturday morning claimed the life of one Covington man, according to Covington Fire Department Captain Rob Christopher.

The fire broke out at a home on College Avenue owned by retired P.E. teacher Aubrey Whelchel. The fire department received a call from a neighbor at roughly 9:36 a.m. and found the home fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. At least three units responded to the call - just a block away from the Covington Police Department.

Although the fire was under control by 10:50 a.m. the house appears to have been gutted by the flames. However, firefighters had trouble locating anyone inside the home because of the amount of materials inside the home.

"There were massive amounts of magazines and plastics inside," Christopher said.

They did locate the body of one man inside the home, who has yet to be identified. Neighbors and friends confirmed Whelchel is the owner of the home and did live alone.

Although the department is still investigating the cause of the blaze, Whelchel was known to use a wood-burning stove to heat his home, according to Christopher.

"It is our understanding that he used a wood-burning stove to heat his home so we are working right now to make a determination as to whether or not that had anything to do with it [the fire]," he said.
Christopher said that firefighters also responded to another house fire on Pinecrest Drive Saturday shortly before 2 p.m. after a neighbor called to report they saw smoke "rolling out of the house."

It was not known as of press time how serious the fire was at that residence.

Christopher said that this time of year the department sees an increase in home fires due to homeowners breaking out the space heaters, and using fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and holiday lights, which clog up outlets that may see little use during the rest of the year.

He urged residents to make sure their heaters and lights are in good working order before using them and to never leave the room or go to sleep with those devices in use until they have been properly checked.

Fire Marshalls are working to identify the man found in the home on College Street as well as the exact cause of that fire as well as the one on Pinecrest.