Fire department responds to calls

PARKERSBURG – The Parkersburg Fire Department responded to two house fires Friday night and Saturday afternoon in Parkersburg, dealing with frigid temperatures in both instances.

Parkersburg Fire Chief Eric Taylor said the first fire occurred about 11 p.m. Friday when a neighbor reported what they believed to be arcing power lines across from Worthington Elementary School.

The first firefighters to arrive on the scene from West Virginia Avenue reported a working house fire at 2507 36th St. and requested a second alarm. The home was a rental owned by Alcinda Moore. The occupants, Tria Gregory and her two children, had just finished moving in the home that afternoon, but had left to get dinner, Taylor said.

The home sustained extensive interior structural damage estimated at $45,000. The American Red Cross Disaster Services responded to assist the family.

Taylor said fire investigator Jody Casto remained on scene until early Saturday morning and had not ruled on a cause, but the origin appeared to be near a floor furnace.

Firefighters were hampered by cold temperatures and icy conditions. No injuries were reported, but a pet cat did perish in the fire, he said.

Traffic was halted on 36th Street in both directions late Friday night while the fire department was working to put out the fire.

In the second incident, firefighters responded to a fire at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at residential structure at 1702 Market St. after it was reported by a neighbor.

The first engine company arrived from the fire station four blocks away and reported a working fire with heavy smoke showing, Taylor said.

Neighbors told arriving firefighters that a man lived in the home by himself, but they were not sure if he was home. A search was conducted, during which firefighters located a dog. It was later determined that the resident was not home. Attempts were made by firefighters and St. Joseph’s Ambulance personnel to revive the dog, but they were unsuccessful.

The bulk of the fire damage was located in a living room, but there was extensive smoke damage throughout the home, Taylor said. A firefighter was slightly injured after falling partially through a burnt out hole in the floor. He was evaluated at the scene, but not transported.

“Since there was no one home, the fire was very late being reported. The fire smoldered undetected for a long time and there is a lot of smoke damage to both the contents and the structure,” said Taylor.

Capt. Tim Flinn investigated the fire and it appears to have originated in the basement ceiling area, directly below the living room. The fire damage is estimated at $40,000, but with the historical uniqueness and size of the home, the smoke damage could be into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said.

The home is owned by Dave Chittum. A cause has not been ruled, but the investigators are looking closely at the electrical wiring, he said. Fire crews remained on scene until 5 p.m. Saturday with the investigation and watching for hot spots