UPDATE: South Charleston House Fire Suspicious; Police Seek Information

By: Olivia Fecteau; WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Olivia Fecteau; WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 4/8/14 @ 10:25 a.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Police are now calling a house fire in South Charleston suspicious.

The fire happened Saturday morning in a vacant house that was for sale in the 100 block of 9th Avenue.

Crews were on scene for hours getting the flames under control.

South Charleston Police are now asking anyone with any information about the fire to give them a call at (304) 550-1450.

UPDATE 4/5/14 @ 6:20 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A house that was for sale is now unlivable after a fire destroyed it early Saturday morning.

The outside of the house is still standing, but each window shows signs of what happened inside.

"Just like, oh my God, what in the world, what happened, why, you know, how did it burn down?" Ronnie Bird said.

Bird said he lived in the house on the corner of 9th Avenue and F street for 14 years. When his mother died last May, the house went into foreclosure. He told WSAZ.com he saw Facebook posts about the fire that destroyed his childhood home and came quickly to see it.

"Could smell it from blocks away and then I just started crying as soon as I smelled it," Bird said.

Firefighters said they could see the smoke rising above the house from their station several blocks away. Neighbors said they could see and smell it too.

"Stepped out onto my stoop, and I saw the fire just pouring out all the windows," Edwin Anderson, who lives down the street on 9th Avenue, said.

The house that burned is old, like his own, Anderson said, noting it was made of "lathe and plaster. That's the way they're built."

Investigators are still working to find out what caused the fire, but they say age is a factor for this vacant house.

"This house right here is what's called a balloon-frame construction, which means the walls go all the way up to the roof. They're hollow all the way up to the roof," South Charleston Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Burdette said. "If a fire starts on the first floor, it's easy to travel up the attic or the second floor."

For Bird, all that are left are memories of growing up in this house.

"Always wanted to see it fixed up," he said.

Burdette tells WSAZ.com people can protect their own houses by reporting anything suspicious, like people living in vacant houses illegally, and by staying alert. He recommended keeping the outside of one's house clean and items piled neatly so that if a home nearby catches fire, it does not spread.

Investigators say they do not believe anyone was inside the house at the time of the fire and say it is too early to tell whether this was suspicious.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.

ORIGINAL STORY 4/5/14 @ 3:10 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A house that was for sale is now a total loss. It was destroyed in a fire, Saturday morning.

It happened in the 100 block of 9th Avenue.

Firefighters say they got the call about 6:15 a.m. and were on the scene until about 10:15 a.m.

Firefighters say when they arrived, flames were shooting from the house. One firefighter tells WSAZ.com that there was "no opening on the house the fire wasn't coming out of."

Police and firefighters are still trying to get in touch with the owners of the house.

Investigators can't say whether it's suspicious at this time, but that they're not ruling anything out.

No other structures were damaged.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

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