Fire Consumes Two Vacant Houses in Village of Bellaire

Photo by Alan Olson Firefighters work to combat a blaze which destroyed two vacant houses on Franklin Street.

BELLAIRE — Two vacant houses went up in smoke Saturday evening near the 4040 block of Franklin Street.

Smoke from the fires was visible for miles as a plume of brown smoke rose from the Bellaire hillside around 6:30 p.m.

Firefighters on ladders climbed to the second story of one house to battle the blaze from the inside; however, loud blares of the fire truck’s horn soon recalled them as the roof threatened to collapse about 45 minutes later.

As a safety precaution, the large crowd, which had gathered on the steps of Hillcrest Christian Gathering, was dispersed, but was allowed to reform after the fire was under control. Firefighters remained on scene late into the night as they worked to extinguish hotspots.

Bellaire VFD Assistant Chief Tim Bell said investigations are underway to determine the cause of the fire, though at the scene he suspected the blaze started in the roof of the southern house. The fire spread quickly throughout the structure, leaping to the next house. Both were destroyed by the fires. Firefighters worked to prevent the fire from spreading to neighboring houses.

At the scene, Bell did not have further information on the matter, though he did not believe anyone was inside the homes at the time the fires broke out.

Bellaire’s volunteer fire crews were assisted by Martins Ferry, Neffs, Bogg’s Run, Moundsville, Bethesda, Short Creek and Shadyside, as well as the Belmont County Tanker Task Force.

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