UPDATE (3/4/2020 5:10 p.m.)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Following further investigation on Wednesday afternoon, the Morgantown Fire Department believes the fire at the former Dinsmore Tire building in Morgantown was was the result of a warming or cooking fire being started inside the building.
In an updated press release from the Morgantown Fire Department, firefighters said investigators returned to the scene of the fire Wednesday afternoon and determined the origin of the fire was in the north side of the metal building addition. Firefighters said the evidence appears to be consistent with a warming or cooking fire set inside the building. The release also stated that it appears that someone discharged a fire extinguisher in an attempt to extinguish the fire. Firefighters said the entire building had numerous indicators that homeless individuals were seeking shelter or living in the vacant building.
The release stated that the Morgantown Utility Board will tear down the portion of the building that was damaged in the fire later Wednesday afternoon. The fire department is continuing to ask that any person with any information about this incident call the Morgantown Arson Hotline at 304-225-3586.
ORIGINAL (3/4/2020 12:14 p.m.)
The Morgantown Fire Department responded to a fire at the former Dinsmore Tire building early Wednesday morning, according to a press release from the fire department.
The release stated that firefighters were dispatched to the location of the fire on Don Knotts Blvd. at approximately 2:20 a.m. Fire crews observed flames coming through the roof of the building as they arrived on scene, before they called for a 2nd Alarm Response and later called for a general alarm, according to the release.
The release explained that a general alarm requires the call-back of all off-duty firefighters. Crews were able to save the original section of the building by using two aerial platform trucks to suppress the fire and protect the exposures, according to the release. Firefighters said the roof on the rear section of the building that was thought to have been added in the 1970s was destroyed by the fire and suppression operations. The release stated there were no injuries to civilians or firefighters. The release also stated that the building is currently vacant and is owned by the Morgantown Utility Board.
Firefighters said investigators from the Morgantown Fire Department believe the fire started in the rear section of building and the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The release stated that it was apparent to firefighters and investigators that the building was being used by numerous homeless individuals, and the cause of the fire may be connected to their presence. Investigators will return to the scene of the fire later on Wednesday.
The release urged any individuals who have any information on the fire at the old Dinsmore Tire building to call the Morgantown Arson Hotline at 304-225-3538