One person dead after reported break-in, fire

Thursday, September 9, 2021
A Berryville firefighter approaches the front of a house on North Springfield Street in Berryville where a fire broke out Monday afternoon after a reported break-in by an armed suspect. One person’s body was recovered after the fire.

One body was recovered Monday after a fire at a house where police were responding to a reported break-in, Berryville police chief Robert Bartos said Tuesday afternoon.

Bartos said Berryville officers were dispatched after a woman called police and reported a break-in in progress and that the suspect was armed with a handgun. The woman ran to a neighbor’s house and called police, Bartos said.

Officers attempted to speak with the suspect, Bartos said, but he never acknowledged their presence. At one point, Bartos said, the suspect stepped out onto the back porch, holding a weapon, but ignored police commands.

“He just acted like nobody was there,” Bartos said.

A few minutes after the suspect stepped back inside the house, Bartos said, officers noticed smoke. From there, he said the house “went up pretty quick.”

Thick black smoke could be seen across town from the home, located in the 1100 block of North Springfield Street. After firefighters were able to contain the fire, Bartos said, a body was recovered from inside the home.

Bartos said he could not identify the person whose body was recovered, saying the remains will be sent to the state crime lab for further investigation. He said the woman who called police about the break-in identified the suspect as Kevin Wolfinbarger.

No one else was reported to be inside the house at the time of the fire, Bartos said. He said there was a domestic relationship between the woman who called police and the suspect. Court records indicate that Wolfinbarger is the ex-husband of the woman who owns the home where the incident occurred.

Bartos said firefighters returned to the scene several times Monday night after the fire flared up. By Tuesday afternoon, only a shell of the house remained and the scene was cordoned off by yellow police tape.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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