One House Destroyed By Fire, Another One Saved in Bellaire

Firefighters deal with ‘brutal’ weather conditions

Photo by Shelley Hanson Not much more than a facade remains of this home on Belmont Street, right, in Bellaire following an overnight fire Friday. It is located near the South Bellaire United Methodist Church. Firefighters were able to save the neighboring two-story brick house.

The Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office has been called in to investigate an early-morning fire that destroyed one duplex and damaged another home in the village of Bellaire.

Bellaire Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Tim Bell said his department was dispatched at 12:40 a.m. Friday for a report of a structure fire at 2209 Belmont St. The fire was reported by someone driving on Ohio 7 who saw the flames, he said.

“It was completely gone when we arrived. It was starting to collapse around us,” Bell said of the duplex.

The fire, however, also had spread to a neighboring structure — a two-story, brick Victorian-era home. That house was saved, sustaining only water damage inside. Bell said both homes were vacant.

Bell said the duplex that was destroyed was condemned last year following a fire there. During last year’s fire, the duplex was occupied. Bell said he could not comment about what caused the fire, but he noted the state fire marshal had been called to investigate.

“We don’t know exactly. When we showed up there was heavy fire on it, and it was spreading to the second structure. There was no saving the first structure,” he said.

With the subzero temperatures, Bell said conditions while fighting the fire were tough to say the least.

“It was brutal. We had two hydrants freeze up. We finally we got water, and we called the tanker task force,” he said, noting fire crews found three other hydrants that would work.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Belmont County’s firefighters have been busy the past couple days. Fire crews from both Martins Ferry and Cumberland Trail assisted the Wheeling Fire Department in battling a blaze at The Ziegenfelder Co. popsicle factory office in East Wheeling on Thursday. Conditions there also were difficult with the subzero temperatures. Martins Ferry’s ladder truck was used during that fire.

The cause of that blaze also still is under investigation. No was injured.

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