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 dwilson@timeswv.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Farmington couple charged with child neglect

    A Farmington couple was charged with child neglect after the wife allegedly sold drugs out of their home with children present.

    July 24, 2014

  • Children's Hospital Donation 2 - CB.jpg Students raise money for WVU Children’s Hospital

    Children from Sunbeam Early Learning Center visited West Virginia University’s Children’s Hospital Wednesday to make a special delivery.
    Two students, Niasia Payne, 10, and Desiree Balch, 11, held a bake sale at Sunbeam July 9 and 10 to raise money for the hospital and set a goal for $50.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fairmont seeks to rebrand itself

    The city of Fairmont is starting to try to reach out to residents in new ways.
    The city created a new position, Fairmont program manager of marketing and communications, to help facilitate the effort.
    Hanna Weaver said she started the job around four weeks ago. She is originally from the Eastern Panhandle and Potomac Highlands region, and her previous job was working as executive director of the Grant County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    July 24, 2014

  • TWV, ARC sponsoring blood drive Friday at FSHS

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage.
    According to the American Red Cross, there have been 80,000 fewer blood donations given since May than expected. This has created an urgent need for blood donations as the Red Cross may soon face a blood shortage.

    July 24, 2014

  • Bridgeport man charged with threatening officer

    A plaintiff in a four-year-old fraud cause is now being accused of not only threatening a State Police officer, but also the lives of the officer’s wife and children.
    Christopher John Domico, 37, of Bridgeport, was arrested Wednesday and charged with retaliation against public officers and witnesses.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mary Jane and Patches -ts.jpg Can-Do campers learn about emergency safety: PHOTOS

    Patches and his fire truck “pumper” made a special visit to the Can-Do summer camp.
    Can-Do summer camp, held at the Disability Action Center, is a week-long camp that is intended for individuals with disabilities. Wednesday began with a lesson about emergency safety.

    July 24, 2014 6 Photos

  • Korean War Memorial seeks funds from county commission

    The Korean War Memorial was suggested to be completed in phases.
    Marion County Development office director Charlie Reese was assigned to review and make a recommendation on what steps the memorial needs to complete to earn more funding. During the last meeting, the Korean War Memorial project had requested $8,000.

    July 24, 2014

  • Fairmont reaching out in new ways

    The city of Fairmont is starting to try to reach out to residents in new ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • Police: Plaintiff threatens trooper, wife and children

    A plaintiff in a four-year-old fraud cause is now being accused of not only threatening a State Police officer, but the lives of his wife and children.

    July 23, 2014

  • Children's Hospital Daycare bake sale reaches 10 times goal for children's hospital

    Children from Sunbeam Early Learning Center visited West Virginia University's Children's Hospital today to make a special delivery.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

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