Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 14, 2014

Blaze damages Matoaka home

MATOAKA — Arson is suspected in two separate fires that were reported Tuesday afternoon near downtown Matoaka.

Mercer County 911 alerted the Matoaka Volunteer Fire Department at approximately 5:20 p.m. about a structure fire on Bailey Street, according to Assistant Fire Chief John Sommers. The first unit arrived on the scene nine minutes later.

“It was two separate fires,” Sommers said. “One was a small cinderblock shed that was about 200 feet from the residence. It was set on fire, and then the vacant structure was set on fire. Both of them are arson.”

The outbuilding was smoldering when the first fire truck arrived at Bailey Street, Sommers said. The vacant home was “75 percent involved,” meaning that much of the structure was engulfed in flames.

Nobody was living at the two-story home.

“It’s a total loss,” Sommers said. “It’s an older-type construction. As soon as the fire got to fuel in the basement, it just ran all the way up.”

Witness statements, plus the fact the residence did not have any utilities such as electricity or gas on, indicate the fire was arson. The origin of the fire was in the basement, he said. The Matoaka Police Department and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department are investigating.

No injuries were reported. The Montcalm, Bluestone Valley, and East River Volunteer Fire Departments were dispatched along with the Princeton Rescue Squad. Firefighters were on the scene for more than three hours.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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