WESTOVER, W.Va. — Five people were injured in a Friday morning fire in Monongalia County. The blaze destroyed a12-unit apartment building on Nebraska Avenue in Westover.

Fire officials say three adults and a six-year-old child were taken to two Pittsburgh hospitals with serious injuries.  A three-year-old child, believed to be a sibling, was being treated at a Morgantown hospital.  Two of the injured adults are believed to be the children’s grandparents.

Assistant State Fire Marshal Mackey Ayersman says the fire began before dawn in a lower apartment where an individual was cooking.  One report said it was a grease fire. It quickly spread to the other 11 apartments in the three-story building.  Four of those injured, including the two children, were in the apartment just above where the fire began.

Officials say as many as 48 people could have been living in the building.   Westover Fire Department Lt. Brad Wilson said by mid afternoon they believed they had accounted for everyone.

Wilson says it was a difficult fire to fight because it spread quickly and firemen had access to only one hydrant, which was a couple blocks away.  Firemen also had trouble reaching the apartment because the street was icy.

Firemen remained on the scene throughout the day, watering down hotspots as smoke continued to billow from the debris.

A Red Cross Relief Center has being set up for those who have been left without a home.

 

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Comments

  • charles gooden

    I lived in this apartment building in apartment g .I was in apt g which was on the second floor next to the apt directly above the apt that the fire started in .I woke up to the hallway fire alarm going off .I walked ti the kitchen and saw smoke and flames coming from the kitchen cabinets .I then ran to the front door to see what was going on and when I opened the door I got knocked down by the smoke and flames in stairwell and horrified by the screams coming from the bottom of the stairs .I had four children 18 months 2 , 4, 7 and my fiance in the apartment with me .we all got out thank god in just the knick of time . We almost lost our lives and we lost everything we own because a drunk dope addict wanted to cook at 6am and passout .they say he got burned trying to help the woman at the bottom of the stairwell who was on fire because the stairway collapsed when she tryed to escape the burning building that he set ablaze .ill just stop there because what I want to say I shouldn't so I won't .this was the most horrifying thing iv ever went through and people got seriously injured and none of it should of happened

  • Mark

    Maybe not a jerk but I think considering some facts before a rant takes place would be a good idea. Namely how old was the building? what were the codes at the time? when was it made into a multi-family dwelling? these are all things he should have considered before trying to cast blame on someone. Also the only time you are required to comply with any updated code requirements is when you are doing significant upgrades to your building and as with a lot of homes and buildings many are 50 to 60 + years old. When was the last time you checked the codes for your city and state and updated your home to meet them?

  • Previous Tennant

    Brian,
    Not a jerk at all. All very valid points. As a past resident of these apartments, I know these are HUD units which means many children and/or disabled people occupy these apartments. I can assure you that fixing them up was not as much a priority as making money was. However, that being said, HUD has certain requirements. Perhaps adding distance to hydrants, sprinkler systems, etc to the requirements could help in the future. It's very sad that these people lost everything.

  • Brian

    I'm going to go ahead and be the jerk who takes a very critical view of some things here. First, I'm looking at the jackwagon who started the blaze. I certainly hope that person immediately gathered his/her family and sent them to the exit, and then VERY promptly ran through the building banging on every door. If not, I'd have to view that person as shameful and cowardly. Second, it seems as though the city of Westover could have some liability in this situation. There is a 12 unit apt building and the nearest fire hydrant is blocks away? If that doesn't violate an ordinance or two, the ordinances are a violation against public safety. In addition, Westover, we are well removed from the last significant snowfall, but the street is still so icy that the fire dept had trouble getting there. I think that's pretty shameful. Furthermore, Westover, you apparently allowed a 12 unit apt building to operate with no sprinkler system. It would be interesting to know what the city code on that matter says. Third, the owner of the property also should feel some pressure here. What is the building made of? Why did the fire spread so fast when this appears to be an accidental blaze with no accelerant? Why is there no sprinkler system? Why did you not demand that the city put a fire hydrant in front of the building? Did you put hand-held fire extinguishers in the kitchen of each unit? If not, why not?

  • Dustin

    A friend of mine lives across the road from this apartment. The street they refer to is hardly wide enough for one car to drive on let alone emergency vehicles. My heart goes out to the people left without a home due to this fire.