EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSHINTON FIRE UPDATE
from Eyewitness News Online
Blaze That Destroyed Five Hinton Apartment Buildings Could Smolder For Days
Reported by: Associated Press
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Feb. 26, 2013 10:50 AM EST
Updated: Feb. 28, 2013 9:54 AM EST
Hinton, Summers County , West Virginia
Hinton Fire Chief Ray Pivont said five apartment buildings destroyed by a fire could smolder for days.
Pivont told The Register-Herald that the four-story brick buildings collapsed into their basements. A massive amount of rubble is preventing firefighters from completely extinguishing the smoldering flames.
Pivont said firefighters will have to let the flames burn out on their own.
The fire occurred early Tuesday morning, about 30 minutes after a two-story house caught fire. No injuries were reported.
Police charged Billy Joe Gill, 25, of Hinton with first-degree arson.
Hinton Mayor Joe Blankenship says the fires left about 30 people homeless.
The apartment buildings in downtown Hinton were known as Brick Row. They were built in 1905 to house railroad officials.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
A man is facing arson charges after a massive fire tore through a Summers County apartment building early Tuesday.
Police arrested Billy Gill, 25, in Hinton and charged him with two counts of first-degree arson, State fire marshals told WOAY TV.
Seven different fire departments were called to the scene of two different fires, at a residence and at an apartment complex just three miles apart, in Hinton. The fires started within about 20 minutes, investigators said. The second fire destroyed 10 town houses on Temple Street. No one was injured in either fire.
Nearly every volunteer firefighter in Summers County responded to the scene.
"It got away from us. It got into the attic and it ran the attic and we couldn't do anything with it," Hinton Fire Department Chief Ray Pivont said.
A mother of three lost everything in the fire. "I moved in five days ago. Now I don't have anything -- no clothes. What I got was on my back. Everything's gone," said Melissa Sprague, who lived in a town house on Temple Street.
Neighbors are just thankful that no one was injured. "You can replace material things; you can't replace somebody's life. That's all I was worried about," Chris Fox of Hinton said.
Fox said he woke up and smoke was covering his face. "I couldn't see a thing. I couldn't hardly breath. I got the baby and my girlfriend out of the house. That's all I could do," Fox said.
This is the third time Fox has had to start over because of a fire. "Must have some bad luck or something, that's all I can figure," he said.
Hinton police arrested Gill with the help of the West Virginia state fire marshals. Additional charges are expected to be filed against him. Gill was taken to Southern Regional Jail.
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