The Times West Virginian

Local News

November 10, 2013

Fire leads to evacuation of mall section

Thick smokes billows from trash receptacle, leading to what was a ‘precautionary measure’

WHITE HALL — A section of the Middletown Mall was evacuated shortly after noon Saturday because of a fire in a large refuse receptacle next to the main entrance of the shopping center.

Thick black smoke billowed from the receptacle, as bright red flames shot up high enough to be visible from Route 250.

Walkers, lunch-goers and flea market vendors and shoppers were asked to leave the center part of the mall as pungent smoke was pushed inside by a driving wind.

One of the mall maintenance workers, who declined to identified, said he had just left the mall.

“About four minutes later, I got a phone call from my boss, who was in Morgantown, that there was a fire.

“From the time I left to when I got back was maybe five minutes later, tops, and it was already rolling,” he said.

“I’d heard several rumors (about the cause) but I don’t want to speculate until they find out more,” he said.

The protocol of handling a fire “depends on the severity,” he said.

“First we try to get the flames down and if necessary, evacuate the people.

“They did but not because of the flames, but because of the smoke that came in when the wind changed.

“Everyone has gotten out who should have,” he said.

“At this time, the fire appears to have been accidental, possibly caused by a cigarette being tossed,” said White Hall Police officer Cliff VanPelt.

“That’s what preliminary information indicates.”

He confirmed that a male had been detained and placed in the back seat of a White Hall cruiser.

“He’s not under arrest. He’s being detained for another reason not related to the fire.”

That man was shortly released from custody.

VanPelt said the mall evacuation was “just a precautionary measure.”

“There was a flea market and walkers near the center of the mall, where the smoke was going in from the high wind. We didn’t want anyone to be in danger from the smoke.

“And since the fire was so close to the building, they sent additional fire department units in case something catches, they’d have the manpower on scene to handle it.”

He praised the firefighters for their quick response.

“Valley is a great department. Any time we need them, they’re right on the ball.”

He said he was just about a half mile away when the call was toned in by Marion County 911 dispatch.

“It was fully involved when I got here. It may have been smoldering for a while and finally flared up.”

There were no injuries.

The receptacle was filled with lumber and other materials taken from a site being renovated for a new business, said Freddie McDonald, assistant chief, Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department.

“I had not heard anything yet about what started the fire. Right now, it’s under investigation.”

Units from Valley, Monongah, Boothsville and Winfield volunteer fire departments, Marion County Rescue  Squad, White Hall Police and Marion County Sheriff’s Department responded.

Email Debra Minor Wilson at

Text Only
Local News
  • Alecto executive to speak at chamber dinner

    The Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s 61st annual dinner is putting a spotlight on the future of Fairmont General Hospital.

    July 30, 2014

  • Alva Groves.JPG Remains of Korean War veteran coming home

    After 63 years, the remains of a Korean War veteran are coming home.
    Those remains are of Cpl. Alva Clifford Groves, of Four States, who lost his life during the Korean War. Groves will be brought home to West Virginia on Tuesday, Aug. 5.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • $5,000 allocated to Korean War Veterans Memorial

    The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Marion County is closer to completion thanks to an allocation from the county commission.

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairmont man arrested on heroin charges

    A Fairmont man has been arrested on heroin charges.

    July 30, 2014

  • Ronald Mersky-EG.JPG Landfill safety taught at workshop

     Educators from around the state started a three-day workshop to learn more about recycling.
    The Marion County Recycling and Litter Control, and Project ALERT partnered with West Virginia University and NASA IV & V Facility to host “Marion County, West Virginia, Earth and Beyond” workshop.
    On Tuesday, educators learned more about recycling solid waste material properly.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • FirstEnergy ending retiree health care subsidies Dec. 31

    he end is drawing near for FirstEnergy Corp.’s health care subsidies for retirees.
    As of Jan. 1, 2015, FirstEnergy will no longer provide subsidized health care for retirees. Todd Meyers, spokesman for Mon Power, which is one of the utility companies under FirstEnergy, said this was a complex decision.
    “It’s a difficult thing, I know, but health care costs have skyrocketed in this country and many companies have had to unfortunately trim back on health care,” he said.

    July 30, 2014

  • Alecto plans changes for FGH

    Fairmont General Hospital’s sales proceedings are moving forward with the approval of Alecto Healthcare Services Fairmont LLC’s Certificate of Need (CON) by the West Virginia Healthcare Authority July 21.
    In West Virginia, a CON is required of all health care providers before they add or expand health care services, exceed the capital expenditure threshold of $3,048,803, obtain medical equipment that is valued at $3,048,803 or developing or acquiring

    July 30, 2014

  • City wooding door -ts.jpg City needs ‘room to grow’

     Fairmont city officials and staff boarded a city bus Tuesday to take tours of three potential sites for a new Municipal Building Complex.
    One of the sites was the Huntington Bank on Adams Street downtown, followed by the City Center building (also known as the old Post Office) and the Masonic Temple on Jefferson Street. While the Huntington Bank building currently houses both Huntington Bank and additional tenants, the City Center building and the Masonic Temple are both currently vacant. The city currently owns the Masonic Temple; if chosen, the other two properties would need to be purchased from their present owners.

    July 30, 2014 9 Photos

  • Fairmont man sentenced for sexual assault, burglaries

    A Fairmont man will serve three to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting a juvenile and for nighttime burglaries.
    Matthew Allen Martin, 26, of Fairmont, entered a plea agreement with the state Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl and two counts of burglary.

    July 30, 2014

  • FGH sales proceedings move forward

    Fairmont General Hospital’s sales proceedings are moving forward with the approval of Alecto Healthcare Services Fairmont LLC’s Certificate of Need by the West Virginia Healthcare Authority July 21.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads