Fatal fire strikes Moriah community

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Year’s Eve fire in the Mount Moriah community north of Troy has left the community mourning the death of Chester Keith McQuagge, 74.

The Meeksville Volunteer Fire Department responded to a report of a file at 1194 Counrty Road 1115 in the Mount Moriah community at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 31.

Investigator Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff’s Department said the residence was already in critical condition when firefighters arrived. “When Meeksville arrived, the house was already engulfed in flames,” Johnson said. “Firefighters had received reports that the resident was possibly still inside the house, but the fire had already consumed much of the house. Once the fire was under control, the fire department found the body of Chester Keith McQuagge inside.”

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While the investigation is still underway, preliminary findings have led investigators to believe the cause of the fire was electrical in nature. “”The residence was an older single-wide trailer,” Johnson said. “The State Fire Marshal was called, and we have come to believe the cause of the fire was electrical. We do not expect there was an foul play involved in the incident. The victim lived by himself in the residence.”

McQuagge’s body has been sent to the Department of Forensic Science for an autopsy. No official cause of death has been given as the case is still under investigation.

The case remains under investigation by the Department of Forensic Science, the Pike County Coroner’s Office, the Pike County Sheriff’s Department and the Alabama State Fire Marshal.