Bridgeport Fire Claims Three Lives

BRIDGEPORT – Investigators with the state Fire Marshal’s Office are expected to be on the scene today of a blaze that killed three children in a village apartment building.

Authorities are releasing little information regarding the fire, which took crews more than six hours to extinguish Sunday afternoon.

The fire in the 300 block of Main Street was reported just after 11 a.m. Sunday, with crews from several neighboring communities responding.

According to reports, three children, ages 2, 4 and 5, died as a result of the fire.

Bridgeport Mayor John Callarick confirmed this morning that two adults, believed to be the parents, were taken to a hospital for treatment. Callarick said a portion of that block was damaged by the fire.

And the building where the fire started likely would have to be torn down by its owner. He believes just the corner of the municipal building’s roof was burnt.

Smoke could be seen from the apartment building, which housed four separate apartments and a TV repair shop, from across the Ohio River in Wheeling.

Several onlookers watched as a ladder truck fought back the flames, which quickly engulfed the building.

Main Street, as well as U.S. 40 in Bridgeport, were closed for an extended period to allow the various agencies to quickly respond.

Crews were still battling the fire at 3 p.m. Sunday, though the fire appeared to have been contained to the rear of the building closest to Interstate 70.

Callarick said the quick response of neighboring departments, particularly the Martins Ferry Fire Department and its ladder truck, saved several more buildings from catching fire.

“Without that ladder truck, the whole block could have been gone,” Callarick said. “There were so many walls and tight corners that made the fire hard to get to.”

Also presenting a challenge was a water break on Main Street just east of the fire.

Callarick said a 10-inch line broke at about the same time as the fire was reported. He said the city used all of the water in its tanks and extra water from the county to battle the blaze.

“We had to let the water keep running, and with so many hoses running it really hurt us,” he said.

Crews were on the scene of that break late Sunday night attempting to restore water to customers, though no time frame was given. Main Street in the 300 block was reopened by 7 p.m. Sunday.