The Times West Virginian

March 1, 2014

‘Suspicious’ fire causes severe damage

Originates in kitchen of Merchant Street bar

By Richard Babich
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — A local bar sustained severe damage Friday morning from an electrical fire that started in the kitchen of the establishment.

Early Friday morning, Fairmont officials responded to a fire at the River City Bar and Grille on Merchant Street.

According to Marion County Central Communication officials, the fire was called in at 4 a.m., and responding were the Fairmont City Police, Fairmont Fire Department and Marion County Rescue Squad. According to Fairmont Police Lt. Steve Shine, the fire originated in the kitchen.

Smoke, fire and water damage significantly affected the building, but the fire did not cause a total loss. The majority of the fire damage was contained to the origin room of the fire.

The establishment was hooked up to gas and electrical services during the blaze, according to Shine.

According to city officials, the fire is similar in nature to a previous fire at the same business in early November. The building and establishment are owned and rented by the same individuals from the previous fire.

“This fire was obviously intentional,” Shine said. “It makes this a highly suspicious fire ... because it’s similar in nature to the previous.”

The water used to extinguish the fire froze on the sidewalk and Merchant Street. Crews were able to cinder the road before any accidents occurred.

Officials on scene suspect that this was an electrical fire, but the exact cause is unknown.

The Fairmont Police Department and the State Fire Marshall’s Office will be working this case as a joint investigation.

If you have any information about the fire at the establishment, call the Fairmont Police Department at 304-366-9280.