Entire City Block Consumed
AN EARLY-MORNING FIRE SUNDAY in Marlinton, West Virginia, a small town in Pocahontas County, took out an entire block destroying seven businesses and leaving 13 families displaced who lived in apartments in the upper floors.
The call was dispatched around 3:30 am and was not extinguished until 10 hours later by the ten fire departments that responded. Smoldering areas, hot spots, and buried fire pockets kept units on the scene through Sunday night and into Monday morning.
Marlinton citizens are also under a mandatory boil for their water this morning following the contamination of the water supply by the excessive drain by the fire lines.
Early, unofficial reports indicated the fire started in the Hudson’s store building.
A strong southerly wind hampered efforts by firefighters to contain the blaze. The wind blew directly into the front of the McK Building, intensifying flames inside the structure. A portion of the building’s top brick facade collapsed into the street at about 8:30 a.m., as the fire continued to burn.
At 11:30 a.m., the fire continued to burn in a northern, one-story extension of the McK Building. Firefighters were concentrating their efforts there to prevent the fire from spreading to a wood-frame residence across an alleyway to the north. A gusty southerly wind continued to feed the flames inside the structure.
The historic McK Building housed apartments, a Nationwide Insurance office, The Corner Salon and Day Report Center offices. Dirt Bean Ohana was a popular Main Street coffee shop and restaurant. Hudson’s Variety Store was an arts and crafts retailer.
A state fire marshal arrived on the scene before daybreak and immediately began his investigation. The state highway department brought in some heavy equipment to knock down the walls of the three buildings that were gutted.
It is too early to have learned what caused the blaze. Only one injury has been reported, a case of heat exhaustion to a firefighter.
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