CHERRY HILL, W.Va. - A fire at the DOH Headquarters in Webster County destroyed the building, and killed a 22-year-old employee.
Crews responded to the fire after the Webster County 9-1-1 Center received two hangup cell phone calls from 22-year-old Stephen Cogar, who was working at the DOH headquarters overnight. A deputy who went to investigate found the building on fire, and called fire crews there. They got Cogar out, but not in time to save his life. Webster Springs Fire Chief Don McCourt says there's still no word on what caused the fire.
"No, no, not really. We've got to rule out everything that could have been accidental, and it just takes a while with a building this size and this magnitude of fire," said Webster Springs Fire Chief Don McCourt.
With the fire behind them, officials say the headquarters building is a total loss. And while crews from the Division of Highways are still on the road, DOH staff said they're making help available to those who need a hand dealing with the loss.
"I know there's some employees here who are pretty distraught. We have some people in our human resources who are going to have counseling available for any of the employees who want it or need it," said Brian Cooper, DOH district engineer.
Workers at the headquarters building will be moved to temporary offices this week, and since most of the equipment at the headquarters came out undamaged, DOH engineers say they'll be able to handle whatever the winter throws at them, despite the loss of the building.
"We have substations located in other parts of the county that we can utilize to do some maintenance, repair work, so everything should go on. It'll just be an inconvenience for us, but we'll still serve the public," Cooper said.