Fire ongoing at former shovel plant

Photo by Jess Mancini. A wall is back lit by the inferno at the former Ames shovel plant in south Parkersburg.

PARKERSBURG — A former industrial site in south Parkersburg caught fire early Saturday morning with heavy flames through the night and a miles-long column of smoke through the day.

According to a press release from the Wood County Unified Command, at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday fire departments from Lubeck, Deerwalk, East Wood, Blennerhassett, Vienna, Williamstown, Pond Creek, Mineral Wells, Washington Bottom, joined the Parkersburg Fire Department in responding to a structure fire located at 3801 Camden Ave. in south Parkersburg.

The structure was formerly the Ames Tool Plant spanning some 420,000 square feet. The facility was currently being used to house various plastics and other articles.

As fire crews arrived on the scene the building was engulfed in flames. Through the night other area fire departments and manpower were requested to assist with the blaze. Ohio fire crews from Marietta and Little Hocking were called in, along with crews from Ritchie and Jackson counties.

Other agencies in support of this incident included the American Red Cross, the West Virginia Department of Highways, Parkersburg Police, Wood County Sheriff’s Office, Camden Clark Ambulance, St Joseph Ambulance, Wood County Health Department, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Wood County Emergency Management, West Virginia Emergency Management and E911.

In addition to a portion of Camden Avenue itself, roadways surrounding the fire scene were closed Saturday, including sections of Camden and Broadway avenues, Camden Avenue and Olive Street, Camden Avenue and Myrtle Street and several connecting alleys.

By late Saturday morning, fire crews drafting water from the Ohio River to relieve the stress placed upon Parkersburg’s water supply by the continual draw of the fire hydrants in that area.

Officials said no reported injuries had occurred as of Saturday afternoon, but a respiratory hazard warning was placed stemming from the smoke caused by the fire. Residents were strongly advised to not subject themselves to the smoke of the fire unnecessarily.

The Wood County Commission has declared the scene a disaster area.

The Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department is the lead agency in this incident.

Fire crews are expected to be on the scene for several days and the surrounding roads are likely to remain closed for the duration, officials said.