PARKERSBURG - Firefighters needed only a few minutes to put out an abandoned house fire on 14th Street Friday morning.
Parkersburg fire Capt. Tim Flinn said the fire was intentionally set. He said the utilities had been turned off and the structure was on the city's list for demolition.
"There was no other heat source," the chief fire inspector said. "It appears to be an intentionally set fire by some type of incendiary device."
Photo by Jody Murphy
Parkersburg firefighters wrap up work on a small fire at a vacant structure on 14th Street Friday morning.
Firefighters were alerted to the blaze around 8 a.m. when someone walked into Station 2, at 16th Street and Covert, and reported seeing smoke in the area. When firefighters located the fire at 823 14th St., they found a three-story brick structure with a small fire inside.
Flinn said the fire, which started on the second floor, penetrated a column and reached the third floor.
A man who claimed to own one of the properties next door but declined to be identified, said he saw a man and little girl coming in and out of the abandoned house. He said the trio was sometimes accompanied by a woman.
Flinn said eyewitnesses reported seeing people leaving the structure about an hour before the blaze was reported.
"We think people have been in and out of the structure," he said.
The man, who said he'd made inquiries with the city to purchase the house, said the third floor contained old furniture, mattresses, lots of paper and candles. Flinn confirmed there was a fuel load. He said there was also evidence of alcoholic beverages in the structure.
"It could have been a lot worse," he said.
Flinn said anyone with information on the fire should contact the department at 304-424-8522.