UPDATE: Flames Destroy Home Near Junkyard Known for Fires

By: Brooks Jarosz, Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Brooks Jarosz, Jennifer Rizzi Email

UPDATE: 6/3/13 @ 12:05 a.m.
CLENDENIN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A string of fires has one homeowner fed up and wanting answers.

An empty home was destroyed by fire Saturday night along Bufflick Road. It's on the Kanawh-Roane County line.

Dispatchers tell WSAZ.com the road was shut down for hours as crews fought the flames.

The homeowner, Paul Rucker, says he's sick of seeing fires destroy his property. He also owns a junkyard that went up in flames at least nine times in the past few years.

Ruckers says the empty house was full of tools. He estimates he lost about $20,000 in Saturday's fire. He's not sure what caused it, but says it may have been electrical.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 12/9/2012 @ 11:00 p.m.
CLENDENIN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A series of suspicious fires targeting a particular junkyard on Bufflick Road in Clendenin are now causing serious environmental concerns.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has launched an investigation following the latest arson there in late November.

They say the repeated burning of hazardous materials -- seven times over the past six months -- may have compromised air and water quality in the area.

"You're burning material that is illegal to burn, which is a major concern for us," DEP spokeswoman Kathy Cosco said. "You're releasing toxins in fuel, oil, antifreeze and plastics."

Six vehicles, a camper and a box trailer were among the property destroyed in the latest fire, according to firefighters.

Bobbi Boggs has lived near the junkyard for nine years and felt she had to speak out for the community's safety.

"It's concerning because I had no clue that the water could be polluted," Boggs said. "I want whoever did this to be stopped...I want to feel safe again and like I can sleep at night."

DEP representatives say that junkyard was being evaluated for environmental hazards before the fires even started. They say the arsons have now increased cause for concern.

"If you see anything that is questionable, call the DEP and let us know," Cosco said. "Our inspectors can come out and take a look and make sure things are being done properly."

Cosco told WSAZ.com that the DEP is evaluating storm water from the area. She said the drinking water comes from an outside source and is safe -- so there is no need to stop using it or install filters.

She said the investigation is ongoing and the DEP is not able to release any more details until it has been completed. A report is expected to be finished sometime in the next few weeks.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updates.

UPDATE 11/25/12/@10:20 p.m.
CLENDENIN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Paul Rucker put twenty years worth of work and effort into his junkyard business in Clendenin, only to see it all go up in smoke.

"It was valuable stuff to me," owner Paul Rucker said. "To a lot of people junk is just junk, but to me junk is money."

Rucker says he lost more than $10,000 Saturday night when suspicious fires destroyed six vehicles, a camper and a box trailer, among other property. He says it's the seventh time it was set on fire in the past six months -- and none of them by accident.

"You really don't know how it feels until something like that happens," Rucker said.

Neighbors who patronized the junkyard came to see what remained Sunday afternoon and were just as shocked and angry as the owner.

"There's no reason for it," Russell Collins said. "I mean nobody has any reason to have something against Paul because he's just too good to people."

Rucker says health problems have prevented him from watching the junkyard closely in recent years. He says every time it goes up in flames, it puts people's lives in danger.

"My daughter lives [nearby] and she was crying," he said. "She was scared to death that the fire was going to come down and get her trailer."

Neighbors like Gary Canterbury worry they could be the next target.

"I've got a home that I'm not living in right now," Canterbury said. "I have to go every day and make sure no one's burnt it down."

Rucker says he's also had problems with theft in the junkyard over the summer. He says this latest fire is the last straw for him and that he plans to quit running the business and destroy what little remains there.

Investigators are still looking into who may have started the fires and how they started.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for updates.

UPDATE 11/24/2012@11:15 p.m.
CLENDENIN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Firefighters say a suspicious fire destroyed a wealth of property Saturday evening at a junkyard in Kanawha County.

Crews arrived at the three-alarm fire on Bufflick Road in Clendenin just after 7 p.m. Six vehicles, including a large wrecker and a 24-foot box trailer, went up in flames. A camper was also destroyed.

Firefighters say there were lots of tires on the property that caught fire, along with multiple propane tanks. One of those held 100 gallons and required special care to extinguish.

Firefighters say this is fourth time in the past six months that the property has caught fire. They believe the other instances were also suspicious.

"One of the [owners] came up and said that no one was up here so they think somebody set it," assistant fire chief Frank Kirk said. "But nobody can prove that."

No one was injured in the fire.

Crews say it took three fire departments more than an hour-and-a-half to get the fire under control.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updates.

CLENDENIN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Firefighters are battling a series of fires breaking out on one person's property in Kanawha County.

Metro 911 tells WSAZ.com the flames could be seen all across a mountainside as fire crews rolled up to the scene on Bufflick Road in Clendenin. The call came in just after 7 p.m. Saturday.

Dispatchers say a mobile home, two box trailers, a camper and numerous other things are engulfed by flames.

No word if anyone was inside any of the trailers or the home. Emergency workers are on the scene now.

West Virginia State Police are heading to the scene for support. It is unclear whether or not fire officials believe the flames are suspicious.

Neighbors tell WSAZ.com the man who owns the property has been the victim to arsonists in the past. They fear the trailers and other things were intentionally set on fire.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for updates.

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