New Martinsville firefighters, along with several other agencies, responded to a structure fire at 250 Locust Street, New Martinsville, on Feb. 27. The initial call was received by Wetzel County 911 at 2:11 p.m.
Firefighters arrived on the scene at 2:17 p.m. and found heavy smoke and fire coming from the attic of the home, which is adjacent to Magnolia High School at the southeast side of the building. Magnolia High School Staff relocated students to the football field and were even able to release some students early.
The New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department, assisted by the Paden City Volunteer Fire Company, were able to knock the fire in the attic down quickly using the aerial truck and then able to gain entry to the home to complete the extinguishment of the blaze.
A firefighter uses the New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department’s aerial truck to get closer to and fight flames coming from the top of a home at 250 Locust St., New Martinsville. More photos of the incident can be found on the Wetzel Chronicle’s Facebook page. (Photos by Amy Witschey)
The home, owned by River Rentals of New Martinsville, was being remodeled into rental apartments and sustained extensive fire damage to the attic and roof of the structure, while the first and second floors of the home received moderate to heavy water and smoke damage. Two apartments in an adjacent building to the north of the home received no damage and there was no damage to the high school. The NMVFD has estimated damages to the Locust Street home at over $52,000.
According to NMVFD Fire Chief Larry Couch, the cause of the fire appears to be improper use of a wood insert stove coupled with a poorly designed stove vent pipe that ran from an old chimney in the home, through the attic space, and out through the roof. At this time, it appears that a fire broke-out in the chimney and spread into the attic, burning unnoticed for some time. A worker that was performing some remodeling work was notified by a neighbor that the home appeared to be on fire. The fire remains under investigation.
A second fire occurred, simultaneously, on Harlan Drive in New Martinsville, as a full size Ford F-250 XLT caught fire and was completely destroyed. PCVFC diverted from the Locust Street blaze to that fire, quickly extinguishing the vehicle.
In all, 13 NMVFD personnel were aided by Paden City and Clarington firefighters. Sistersville firefighters were placed on stand-by during the event. Also assisting at the scene was Wetzel County Emergency Medical Service, the New Martinsville Police Department, and the city's elec