Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

October 21, 2013

‘We couldn’t cross the bridge’

Firefighters face challenges on way to structure fire

MATOAKA — A structure fire Saturday night near Matoaka presented a challenge for firefighters responding to the blaze because a bridge leading to the structure would not support the weight of any of the responding fire trucks.

“There were a few of us on station when we received the page out at 7:47 p.m.,” Chief S.A. Sommers of the Matoaka Volunteer Fire Department said. “We were at the bridge within three minutes of receiving the call, but we couldn’t cross the bridge.”

Sommers said that responding firefighters quickly unloaded portable hoses, breathing apparati and a portable pump onto three pickup trucks driven to the site by other volunteer firefighters and preceeded to the fire.

“We were fortunate that there was a stream nearby that we could draw water from, but we just couldn’t put enough water on it,” Sommers said. “It was a total loss.”

Sommers said that the homeowner had just left the residence. “He could see that it was on fire from the road. The home owner actually phoned it in,” Sommers said.

In addition to Matoaka, the East River and Bluestone Valley volunteer fire departments also responded to the fire. “One firefighter received a miner injury,” Sommers said. “He was transported by the Princeton Rescue Squad to Princeton Community Hospital for treatment.”

Sommers said that while the residence was a total loss, he was able to determine that the point of origin was in the living room. The residence was a wooden frame structure.

“The fire is listed as suspicious,” Sommers said. “The state fire marshal has been called in to investigate the fire.”

Sommers said that firefighters cleared the scene shortly after 10 p.m.

— Contact Bill Archer at

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