Fire erupts at garage
Area firefighters responded last Wednesday to a commercial fire at Warm Springs Towing and Transport, which is located in the old Compton building on U.S. Route 522 South.
The fire call was dispatched at 6:23 p.m. for 4307 Valley Road on February 15, said Captain Marshall Younker of the Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Company. He said the property owner is Debra West.
The first medic units on the scene reported that heavy smoke and fire were coming out of the big garage doors that face the highway, Younker said. The fire was contained to one bay area though smoke filled the building. It blackened the ceiling and some items in the bay burned.
Three vehicles that were in the bays being repaired were damaged. One vehicle had mild to moderate damage and the other two were smoke-damaged only, he said. The one bay and a vehicle lift have some fire damage, Younker said. No damage estimates were available.
Several employees that were in the building at the time got out safely, he said. There were no injuries.
The fire was caused by accidental ignition from a spark that flew into the oil in the bay while employees were working. The workers tried to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher, but were unsuccessful, Younker said.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Department handled the fire investigation and spoke with the fire marshal, he said.
Units from Berkeley Springs, Great Cacapon, South Morgan, Hancock and Gainesboro Volunteer Fire Companies responded to the blaze. Paw Paw Volunteer Fire Company transferred to the Great Cacapon fire station. Hedgesville and Orleans Volunteer Fire Companies transferred to the Berkeley Springs fire station.
Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Lemon, Morgan County Emergency Medical Services and the West Virginia State Police also responded to the fire.
They had nearly 60 firefighters on the scene, with 27 of them from the Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Company, he said. The fire was under control in less than 10 minutes and was confirmed out by 7:30 p.m. Units were on the scene for nearly two and a half hours.
They used the Gainesboro ladder truck to cut a whole in the ceiling and get firefighters into the attic area to make sure there was no fire there.
Younker said that they never have a commercial fire of this magnitude where a company didn’t lose a day of business. Warm Springs Towing and Transport opened at their normal business time 7 a.m. the next morning, he said.
“The guys did an excellent job of knocking down the fire and stopping it at the line when we got there,” Younker said of keeping the fire from spreading to the adjoining bay.
Hospital fire alarm
Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Company was responding to a fire alarm going off at the new War Memorial Hospital when the fire call came in for Warm Springs Towing and Trucking. Lieutenant Jami Clark stayed at the hospital while other units raced to the business fire.
There was no fire at the new hospital. The fire alarm system was set off when some new heating, ventilation and air conditioning ductwork was placed in service and a light smoke was emitted from the new unit, Younker said.
Another fire alarm went off for the new hospital Friday morning, but the call was immediately canceled. Construction is wrapping up at the site and hospital officials are preparing for their April 28 move and opening day for the new facility.