CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A pair of Tuesday morning fires on Charleston’s West Side were the work of an arsonist.

City fire investigator Wes Smith says the first was at an old church building near West Washington Street.

“It was an unoccupied building that had been vacant for a year.  No utilities were hooked to it,” Smith said. “Looks like somebody walked by and started a fire on the outside of the building and it spread to the inside of the building.”

The building was boarded up. The dilapidated structure burned quickly, but Smith said the first crews to arrive did a good job of getting out out quickly. Still, it was a total loss.

“The building was probably worth about 30-thousand dollars,” Smith said. “It’s probably done at least that much damage because of the age and condition it was in.”

Smith said they are also investigating another fire set a short time later at CARES about a block away. The fires were set in a similar manner, but Smith said while he thinks it’s likely the fires were started by the same person, he’s not 100 percent sure.

So far there are no suspects.  Nobody was injured in the fire which broke out about 6 a.m.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office tweeted Tuesday afternoon: “Anyone w/ info on 2 fires West Side of Charleston this morn, call 800-233-3473 up to $5K reward if info leads to arrest & conviction.”

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