West Virginia Assistant Fire Marshal George Harms has ruled the cause of last Monday’s commercial building fire to be accidental. Harms said the March 5 fire that gutted the historic Berkeley Club bottling plant started when gasoline came into contact with a heater on the premises. Occupants in a garage bay of the building were working on a motorcycle at the time of the fire’s ignition, said Harms.
The two-alarm fire kept crews from more than a dozen fire companies working on the scene for hours. An initial call for the fire came in a 5:15 p.m on Monday. U.S. 522 was shut down until 10 p.m. as crews doused the flames in the two-story block building.
A motorcycle riding club was using the building at the time of the fire. The structure is considered a total loss. No one was injured in the fire, though one firefighter was transported to the hospital for treatment of chest pains that night.