2018-01-17 / Front Page

Paw Paw house fire ruled incendiary

by Kate Evans


A fire at this house on Lee Street in Paw Paw has been ruled as incendiary by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office. Investigators are requesting help gathering information. photo by Kate Shunney A fire at this house on Lee Street in Paw Paw has been ruled as incendiary by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office. Investigators are requesting help gathering information. photo by Kate Shunney Assistant West Virginia State Fire Marshal George Harms has said the cause of an early morning house fire in Paw Paw last Wednesday has been ruled “incendiary” and that investigators from his office are requesting information in an ongoing arson investigation in Morgan County.

Harms said that anyone who may have information is urged to contact the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline at 1-(800) 233-FIRE (3473). A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved.

Lee Street fire

Paw Paw Fire Department president Joe Smith said that the fire call for a two-story residence on Lee Street behind the Liberty Gas Station came in to Morgan County 911 Dispatch Center on Wednesday, January 10 at 3 a.m. A neighbor called in the fire.

Paw Paw Volunteer Fire Chief Steve Moreland was in command of the fire scene. Upon arrival, firefighters found smoke and flames coming out everywhere from the windows of one story of the house. The fire was knocked down quickly, but there was extensive overhaul, Smith noted. Units were on the scene for about two hours.

Smith said the home was vacant and under renovation at the time of the fire. The house is probably a total loss, he noted.

Units from Paw Paw, Great Cacapon, Berkeley Springs, Oldown, Orleans, Hancock, Slanesville, Reynolds Store and Needmore Volunteer Fire Companies responded to the blaze along with the Morgan County Emergency Medical Services.

Several other fires both before and after the house fire kept fire units on the move.

Youngblood Road fire

Morgan County 911 public information officer Sarah Hogbin said that their 911 Dispatch Center got a call at 1 a.m. on January 10 for a working structure fire on Youngblood Road outside of Great Cacapon. The call came in from a neighbor.

The first firefighters that arrived on the scene found the woods on fire with a propane tank involved, Hogbin said. Units from Great Cacapon, Berkeley Springs, Paw Paw, South Morgan, Hancock, Slanesville, Orleans, Reynolds Store, Needmore and Oldtown Volunteer Fire Companies responded to the fire. The fire was out at 2:36 a.m.

Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Company officials could not be reached for more information.

Garage fire, other

Hogbin said that Morgan County 911 Dispatch Center got two calls from neighbors regarding a working garage fire on Audubon Lane around 8:56 a.m. on January 10.

Units from Berkeley Springs, Hancock, Hedgesville, Back Creek and Bedington Volunteer Fire Companies responded to the fire. She said command of the fire was relinquished at 10:15 a.m. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Company also responded to a smoke investigation on Running Water Way later on January 10 that was caused by a homeowner dumping hot ashes from their wood stove. Hogbin said a couple of bushes caught fire. Units were on the scene around 40 minutes.

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