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Fire destroys house in Kanawha County; police call off search for reported armed man

An assistant fire chief says crews had to wait to work on putting the fire out while police searched for a man with a gun.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 7:11 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Crews responded Friday afternoon to a house fire and a report of a man running around with a gun in the Pinch area.

Justin Teel, the assistant chief with the Pinch Volunteer Fire Department, says no one was hurt, and nobody was in the home along Quick Road when crews arrived.

He says when the call came in at 1:54 pm, it was reported a man was seen in the area running around with a gun.

Teel says fire crews were not permitted to get to the burning house until law enforcement cleared the area and deemed it safe.

According to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, after an extensive search of the area, the man was not located. Neighbors told law enforcement officers the man had a gun holstered on his hip, and his behavior made them nervous.

One neighbor said the man asked to use their phone, and he was overheard telling his father the house was on fire.

The sheriff’s department says the cause is unknown, and it’s not been determined if the fire is suspicous.

John Dunlap lives next to the home that was destroyed. His own house sustained heat damage.

“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “If the fire department could have gotten up here sooner, my house might not be all melted on one side, but I understand their safety concerns.”

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