An historic city block of Hinton lies in ashes today and one individual is behind bars charged with setting the blaze.
Members of the Hinton Volunteer Fire Department were called to the scene of a house fire at 1:30 Tuesday morning. While they were battling a fully involved fire at house a second call came to the 911 center.
“They split their department at that time and were fighting two different fires,” said Assistant State Fire Marshall Scott Rodes. “Basically the second fire progressed into the other apartment units and took down an entire city block of apartment units.”
There were ten apartments known as Brick Row in Hinton.
While the fire was still burning, police were able to apprehend a suspect who was on the scene.
“At the time of the fire some tips came into officers which led them and myself to this individual,” said Rodes.
Police arrested Billy Joe Gill, 25, of Hinton. He’s lodged in the Southern Regional Jail charged with two counts of first degree arson.
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Hinton Police Chief Derek Snavely released the following statement.
“Mayor Joe Blankenship and other Hinton City Officials are currently working on bringing in aid for those who tragically lost their homes today. I would like to personally commend the members of the Hinton Police Department for their hard work and efforts this morning in being able to apprehend the suspect so quickly and putting an end to the terror. I would also like to commend the Hinton Fire Department and all Summers County Fire Departments for their joint effort in putting out these fires and evacuating all of our citizens safely. I would also like to thank Summers County EMS for their assistance this morning as well as the Summers County CERT team. I know today marks a day in history that many will never forget as we lost nearly a dozen homes, but we are so fortunate that none of our citizens or first responders were injured in today’s events.”
Rodes said the investigation into the fire continues. Investigators are unsure how the fire started.
A third fire was set in a trash barrel near the apartment complex.