Occupants Able To Escape Fire in Wheeling, House Destroyed

Photo by Scott McCloskey Wheeling firefighters work at the scene of a two-alarm blaze that destroyed a house in the 2200 block of Highland Avenue Extension early this morning. The hilly, wooded terrain made it difficult for fire crews to reach the scene.

WHEELING — A house in the 2200 block of Highland Avenue Extension was destroyed in a two-alarm fire early this morning. No one was hurt in the fire.

Several crews from the Wheeling Fire Department arrived at the scene at approximately 8:30 a.m. Firefighters found the structure fully involved in fire and were told that residents of the house had been evacuated. A short time later, firefighters said flames were shooting through the roof of the building.

Wheeling Fire Chief Larry Helms said, “The family got out fine. They’re OK.”

Fire trucks had difficulty getting to the scene because of the hilly terrain.

Helms said crews were having trouble getting to the house because of ice on the roadway and a turn in the hill.

“It just took us a while to get water on it because of the location,” the fire chief said. He added that crews had to stretch fire lines about 1,500 feet up a steep embankment.

The house was situated on a wooded hillside above North 23rd Street and Warwood Avenue (W.Va. 2). For a time, W.Va. 2 was closed to allow crews to attach hose lines fire hydrants in order to get water to the blaze.

Firefighters also sprayed water on the exposed side of an adjacent house as a precautionary measure. Two fuel tanks located at the northwest corner of the burning house were reported to be smoking, but fire crews were able to prevent the tanks from erupting. By 9:30 a.m., fire crews were working to extinguish hot spots in the burned-out house.

Two units from the West Liberty Volunteer Fire Department assisted Wheeling firefighters at the scene. Crews were expected to remain on the scene putting out hot spots and doing extensive cleanup throughout the day.

Information wasn’t available on the cause of the fire. Philip Stahl, city public information officer, said, “The state fire marshal’s office will most likely investigate the cause of the fire.”

The initial fire call came from a neighbor.

Stahl said the house was situated outside of city limits, He said it was believed that the house was located within the Clearview Volunteer Fire Department’s response district.

“Firefighters were challenged with the terrain and had to stretch multiple hose lines from Warwood Avenue to the fire,” Stahl said.

Engine Co. 2, 5 , 9, Squads 1 and 2, Rescue 1 and Ladder 1 all responded from the Wheeling Fire Department.