CITY: Morris Building Fire Started in Elevator Shaft

By: WSAZ News
By: WSAZ News
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UPDATE 7/27/14 @ 3 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- American Red Cross of West Virginia says that are providing services to responders and others following a fire at the Morris Building in Huntington.

The fire started about 9 a.m. in the historic building in the 900 block of 4th Avenue.

According to the City of Huntington's Facebook page, officials believe the fire started in an old elevator shaft in the top of the building.

Red Cross of West Virginia says they are providing canteen service to responders, and will remain available for any other needs.

WSAZ spoke with the owners of Subway on 8th Street in Huntington, as well as the restaurant in South Point, Ohio. They say they sent 80 footlong sandwiches and dozens of cookies to the first responders who battled the fire.

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



UPDATE 7/27/14 @ 2:25 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Huntington Fire Chief Carl Eastham says the power has been turned off at the Morris Building.

They were able to isolate the building on the grid, so no other areas lost power.

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



UPDATE 7/27/14 @ 1:40 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- 911 Dispatchers in Cabell County say that crews will be cutting power to the Morris Building following a fire Sunday morning.

Dispatchers say due to the way the grid in the city is set up, this could impact several other locations around the city.

They say that once they turn off the power, and see what all areas are impacted, they hope to isolate the Morris Building and return power to other locations.

No word how long power will be out.

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



UPDATE 7/27/14 @ 1:15 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The City of Huntington has reported on its Facebook page that the fire at the Morris Building is believed to have started in an old elevator shaft.

The fire was reported about 9 a.m. Sunday when someone saw flames shooting from the roof of the historic downtown building.

The Morris Building is in the 900 block of 4th Avenue and is home to several apartments, offices and two restaurants, Backyard Pizza and The Peddler.

City leaders say the fire has been extinguished and inspectors are inside the building surveying damage.

They say the elevator shaft that collapsed was near the top of the building and fell to the 4th floor, spreading the fire to other parts of the building.

The fire did not spread to neighboring buildings, according to the post. However, there is water damage in those neighboring buildings.

City leaders say the building was evacuated safely, although a Huntington firefighter suffered a leg injury while battling the fire.

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



UPDATE 7/27/14 @ 12 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Huntington Fire Chief Carl Eastham tells WSAZ.com that one firefighter was hurt battling the fire at the Morris Building, but at this time, they do not believe any one else was injured.

The firefighter suffered a knee injury.

As of 12 p.m. Sunday, Chief Eastham said crews have the fire 95% contained and they are working to put out the hot spots.

The fire was reported about 9 a.m. at the Morris Building in the 900 block of 4th Avenue, when flames were seen shooting from the roof of the building.

Several fire crews from around the area were called in to help with the response. Chief Eastham says that all three of Huntington's ladder trucks were used to fight the fire. Aerial units were also called in.

Chief Eastham tells WSAZ.com that there was no sprinkler system in the building. There was also not a system in place to allow them to hook up hoses on every floor. Instead, they had to pull hoses from the road, all the way to the top floor of the building.

Chief Eastham says there is significant damage to the top floor of the Morris Building, but they were able to contain the fire to the building. There were reports that two floors collapsed in the fire. Chief Eastham confirms that stairwells did collapse. They still have to check for further damage.

They are still waiting to see if there is any damage on several surrounding buildings.

At this time, crews do not know how many people have been displaced due to the fire.

One resident told WSAZ's Dan Griffin that a firefighter banged on his door around 9 a.m. and told him he needed to get dressed and get out of the building.

Crews also evacuated surrounding buildings, including Pet Palace. 13 dogs, along with several reptiles were removed from the store.

Huntington Police also shut down several streets surrounding the fire. Cabell County 911 reports that just before 12:30 p.m., 5th Avenue was being reopened. 4th Avenue between 10th Street and 8th Street remains closed at this time.

Emergency crews are asking any bystanders to leave the fire scene due to the severe weather expected in the area.

Chief Eastham tells WSAZ.com that there have been fires of this size in the past in Huntington and they have taken large buildings, as well as lives. He says they are fortunate they were able to get a quick jump on the fire at the Morris Building before it became too severe.

Eastham says the "response has been very hectic" but he describes it as organized chaos.

Chief Eastham says the weather became a crucial part in battling the fire. The wind speed was too high, making crews take down the tall ladders. The chance of lightning also made those ladders dangerous.

Chief Eastham tells WSAZ.com that they used technology to fight this fire. They sent a firefighter up on the West Virginia Building and he used FaceTime to report to crews where they needed to go.

We have crews at the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 7/27/14 @ 11:35 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Crews continue to battle a fire at the Morris Building in Huntington.

The fire started at the historic building in the 900 block of 4th Avenue.

Huntington firefighters tell WSAZ.com that two floors have collapsed.

There are several apartments and restaurants in this building, including Backyard Pizza and The Peddler. NewsChannel3s Dan Griffin says the owners spoke with him at the scene, and were very emotional.

A resident who lives on the 5th floor of the Morris Building told Dan Griffin that around 9 a.m., a firefighter came banging on his door and told him to get dressed and that he needed to get out of the building. Crews knocked on doors on the way down to the bottom floor, warning other residents in the apartments.

Flames could be seen shooting from the building Sunday morning.

People are being asked to avoid 3rd, 4th and 5th Avenues from 7th to 10th Streets. These streets are shut down as crews continue to work to put out the fire.

Fire crews from around the were brought in to help battle the fire. The State Fire Marshal is also on scene.

Captain Randy Ellis says the flames appear to be out, but several firefighters are still inside the building trying to put out all the hot spots.

Right now, firefighters don't know what caused the fire, but it appears to have started on the roof top.

The building was expected to celebrate its 100th birthday next year.

We have several crews on the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 7/27/14 @ 11:15 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Firefighters are still trying to put out a fire at a historic building in downtown Huntington.

The Captain of the Huntington Fire Department tells WSAZ.com the first, two floors of the Morris Building in the 900 block of 4th Avenue have collapsed.

The fire was reported just before 9 a.m. when flames were seen shooting from the building's roof.

The Morris Building houses some apartments as well as businesses, including "The Peddler" that just opened within the last month. Several people lived in those apartments on the top floor of the building.

Firefighters say everyone was able to get out of the building safely. They have evacuated a few buildings nearby the Morris Building as a precaution.

Firefighters spent more than an hour battling the flames. Several ladder trucks from several departments were used.

Captain Randy Ellis says the flames appear to be out, but several firefighters are still inside the building trying to put out all the hot spots.

Right now, firefighters don't know what caused the fire, but it appears to have started on the roof top.

Heavy smoke can still be seen across the river in Ohio.

Several streets near the building have been closed while firefighters continue to work at the scene. Dozens of people have gathered near the site.

The Morris Building is a seven story building that was opened as the "Hotel Farr" in 1919 and was later renovated into a commercial building that housed apartments and businesses.

We have several crews at the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY
HUNTINGTON, W. V.a. (WSAZ) -- Cabell County dispatch says the Morris Building in downtown Huntington is fully engulfed with flames, Sunday morning.

911 dispatch tells WSAZ.com the building is being evacuated as firefighters work to put out the flames. They say the building is fully engulfed.

The building, in the 400 block of 9th Street, houses some apartments as well as businesses. Dispatch says the fire started somewhere near the top floors.

Right now, there's no word on any possible injuries. There's also no word on what may have started the fire. Other area fire departments are also responding

Smoke and flames could be seen from the WSAZ West Virginia Lottery Weather Camera downtown.

Dispatch says roads around the building are closed so emergency officials can get to the building.

WSAZ.com has a crew on the scene. We will continue to keep you posted as new information becomes available.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest.


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