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Illegal occupancy sparks more questions about Logan building fire

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 10:55 PM EST
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LOGAN, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A fire that ripped Friday through a building in Logan caused plenty of issues for firefighters but, when they found out people were illegally renting out rooms inside the building, things changed.

Broken windows and black soot cover a large area in the 100 block of Charles Street. Daniel McGuckin and Elizabeth Page used to live in that complex.

“It was a big fire, and I hate to see something like that happen,” McGuckin said.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they discovered what was supposed to be a carwash and storage units. However, people were actually living inside those units.

Fire Chief Scott Beckett said the way the place was built made it extremely dangerous for firefighters to gain access.

“What we are looking at is one of the illegal dwellings units that they had in there as an indoor storage unit they were renting out, I guess as occupied spaces, and that is where it looks like it started at,” Beckett said.

The building is not up to code according to the fire marshal and it is considered illegal occupancy.

“The code is not up to par, no, and it’s unfortunate,” Page said. “That is dangerous, too. At the same time, you got people living in there. It’s winter; you got to stay warm.”

Beckett said the fire started in one of the storage units where someone was living -- one of many people Page said she knew.

“One, two, three, four, five, six, at least six or seven” she said.

Logan firefighters said the owner of the property was charging people to live in the units. Firefighters said they’d like to offer some follow-up help, but they have no way of reaching the people who lived inside and still have not heard from the building’s owner.

The fire displaced all the people living inside the complex after the building was damaged and shut down. Logan firefighters say the state fire marshal is going to investigate this week.

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