Cause of Fire Beneath Market Street Bridge in Downtown Wheeling Still Unknown
photo by: Shelley Hanson
The cause of a June 7 fire that damaged the Market Street Bridge cannot be determined at this time, but the case will remain open.
Philip Stahl, spokesman for the Wheeling Fire Department, said Wednesday the Wheeling Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Investigation will keep the investigation open in case more information becomes available.
“The cause will remain undetermined, as investigators were not able to locate any individuals who were under the bridge at the time of the incident,” he said.
Officials have said previously a homeless encampment was located underneath the bridge at the time of the fire, and they believe that’s where it likely started.
After having a contractor clean out the debris recently, West Virginia Division of Highways engineers were able to inspect the bridge and determined there was damage to the span’s deck.
Engineers are working on a plan for repairs to the structure, which remains closed to vehicle traffic. Pedestrians are still allowed to use it.
Meanwhile, the cause of a massive blaze that damaged several buildings in East Wheeling over the weekend also still is being investigated.
“They’re making progress on the investigation, but have not yet made a final determination,” Stahl said.
The two-alarm fire happened about noon Saturday in the 1400 block of Jacob Street. At least two different structures were damaged by the fire. The blaze appeared to have started in a structure in an alleyway then spread. No one was injured.
In addition to the Wheeling Fire Department, firefighters from Glen Dale and the Cumberland Trail Fire Department in St. Clairsville assisted.