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Arson Reward Increased

By Staff | Jul 14, 2010

The reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who allegedly attempted to burn the former Po Boy Restaurant has been increased to as much as $7,500.A private donor has offered to add $5,000 to the $2,500 that the state of West Virginia offers for the information.

“We have, what we feel, are very good leads in the matter and we even have a few ‘persons-of-interest’ in the fire, but the more information we have, the stronger our case will be when it is taken to the prosecutor,” said New Martinsville Fire Chief Larry Couch.

Anyone with information should call the West Virginia Arson Hot Line at 1-800-233-FIRE or 1-800-233-3473.

In a related matter, during the emergency response to the arson, the Steelton station’s rescue truck was heavily damaged when a Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department vehicle backed into it. “It was an accident; those things happen,” said Couch.

He told council he hoped to combine the insurance reimbursement with some other state/grant funding to purchase a whole new body for the rescue truck. That is exactly what council unanimously approved later in the council meeting at the recommendation of the committee that oversees the fire department.

The rescue truck’s damaged body can be replaced at a cost of approximately $65,000. The insurance will pay for $25,000 of the project. The normal bid process is being waived under an emergencies clause provided in city code.