Fire destroys Center Wheeling homes

WHEELING – Fire gutted two Center Wheeling homes Saturday, turning what was a peaceful, sunny afternoon into a nightmare of black smoke and orange flame.

Wheeling firefighters received the initial fire call at the corner of 24th and Eoff streets at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

They spent more than two hours bringing the fire under control, and as of 9 p.m. Saturday continued to knock down hot spots and investigate the fire’s cause.

The flames, bolstered by a steady wind, destroyed two homes and damaged several others. Heavy smoke and water also damaged a few homes on the block.

Firefighters rescued an elderly resident of one of the two homes. No other injuries were immediately reported.

Hundreds of residents took to the streets to watch the firefighters work, and several made a point to mention that this is not the first fire to strike their neighborhood in the past year. A November fire destroyed an apartment complex less than a block from Saturday’s blaze.

Fire officials called in an investigator Saturday to determine the blaze’s origin.