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Arson, Bomb Threat, Storm Make For A Busy Day

By Staff | Jun 30, 2010

Signs and tape on the former Po Boy Restaurant in New Martinsville indicate the site is now a crime scene and offers a reward for information in the alleged arson of the building on June 23. (Photo by Amy Witschey)

A structure fire at the former Po Boy Restaurant in New Martinsville, coupled with a bomb threat and a severe thunderstorm, kept area firefighters scrambling throughout the area on Wednesday afternoon, June 23.

The first call came into New Martinsville Police from Choo Choo’s restaurant at 12:31 p.m. advising that there was a fire alarm at that location.Upon arrival to the Choo Choo’s at 12:39 p.m., staff there advised firefighters that the fire alarm was activated at the former Po Boy Restaurant.

Firefighters diverted the responding Steelton trucks to the former Po Boy Restaurant. At 12:40 p.m. the original caller called NMPD again and advised that the alarm was activated at the Po Boy location not the Choo Choo’s location.

At 12:44 crews from the Steelton Station had entered the building and found a light haze of smoke in the building. As additional crews arrived and entered the building they found several sprinkler heads activated in the basement and numerous areas where it appeared fires had started. Crews assured that the fires were extinguished and shut-down the sprinkler system.

“We determined that there had been several points of origin of fire and that other circumstances surrounding the incident were very suspicious,” said NMVFD Fire Chief Larry Couch.”We limited access to the building, notified the police department and State Fire Marshals Office. The scene, along with potential evidence, was processed and the building was secured by Law Enforcement and Fire Officials.

At this time the cause of the fire is listed as incendiary and an investigation is underway.

At the same time as the fire at the former Po Boy restaurant, a bomb threat at the Speedway Gas Station at 132 North State Route 2 was being investigated.

Fire and police officials received this call at 12:48 p.m., sending emergency crews to that location as well.

Fire Fighters cleared the Speedway incident at 2:48 p.m. and the former Po Boy location was cleared and secured at 3:52 p.m.New Martinsville Fire Fighters were assisted at both of these calls by the Paden City, Sardis, Clarington, and Grandview Fire Departments.

Firefighters were also summoned, June 23, to several calls after a storm passed through the area. At 6:17 p.m. the New Martinsville Police Department dispatched firefighters to 643 James Street where trees and lines were down.At 6:27 p.m. Wetzel County 911 dispatched NMVFD Units to Box 66 Proctor Creek Rd. for a report of trees in the roadway.At 6:39 p.m. Wetzel County 911 sent NMVFD to Box 67 Proctor Creek Rd for a report of trees and power lines down and at 6:43 p.m. WC-911 sent firefighters to Box 99 Doolin Run Rd. for a tree down on lines.

Firefighters were also sent to American Ridge and Schupbauch Ridge Roads to clear them of downed trees as well.The Doolin Run and Proctor Creek incidents required the removal of power lines by Allegheny Power and left the roadways closed for several hours while the lines were removed and repaired.

NMVFD was assisted on the Doolin and Proctor Creek incidents by personnel from the Grandview VFD.