WESTOVER, W.Va. –Ten apartments and two businesses were destroyed in a large fire Friday afternoon in Westover, authorities said.
The blaze broke out at about 2:00 pm in Frank’s Hot Spot on Holland Ave. There was an initial report of a couch being on fire, Westover VFD Assistant Fire Chief Bradley Wilson said. The flames quickly moved to the front of the building.
Within the hour the flames spread from one section of the building to threaten the video poker machine business, arcade and laundromat aided by strong winds.
Investigators with the state Fire Marshal’s Office were quickly called to the scene. The office tweeted at around midnight Friday that everyone who lived in the apartments had been accounted for.
The flames and smoke were scene for several miles away Friday afternoon. Jim Bolyard was driving through Westover when he noticed trouble.
“I seen the black smoke coming from the roof of the corner of the building. I just pulled in the parking lot really quick and I could tell it was a fire. I just jumped out of the truck. I knew there were apartments up behind, so I just started beating on doors.”
Residents, Bolyard said, were caught off guard.
“First their reaction was there’s no smoke in our rooms. It was on the front side. They said there’s no smoke coming out. I said you have gotta get out, you gotta get out. The fire is going to be coming because it’s an older building and you know it’s going to be spreading fast. The wind is blowing.”
Ladder trucks were called in to douse the fire from above.
“The fire was spreading really quick. All the fire departments there were putting a lot of water on. But, it was spreading pretty quick,” Bolyard recalled.
Firefighters from Westover, Clinton District, Morgantown and Star City were among those to respond.
Holland Avenue had to be closed to traffic.
Workers at the scene had requested an ambulance for possible smoke inhalation issues.