Fire that destroyed W.Va. apartments labeled suspicious

August 18, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The cause of an early morning blaze Thursday that destroyed two apartments just outside of Martinsburg is under investigation, according to Baker Heights Volunteer Fire Department Chief Marty Roberts.

No one was hurt at 40 and 42 Boarman Place, two of six apartments in the Capital Heights residential complex, Roberts said.

The occupants were reportedly in Prince George's County, Md., when the fire started in 42 Boarman Place, Roberts said.

The Office of the State Fire Marshall is investigating the cause of the blaze, but Roberts said officials have concluded it is "suspicious."

The investigation thus far has led fire officials to believe the fire originated in the living room area, Roberts said.

Police who initially responded to a burglar alarm at the complex discovered the blaze. Firefighters were dispatched at 2:59 a.m., according to Roberts, who lives nearby.

He said 42 Boarman Place was engulfed in flames when he arrived at 3:03 a.m.

The fire was contained to the two apartments, but there was some water damage to the neighboring apartment at 38 Boarman Place. That apartment also had to be vented, Roberts said.

Roberts said he left the fire scene about 2 p.m. after helping an assistant state fire marshal who responded to investigate. Jimmy, an accelerant detection canine from Loudoun County, Va., also responded.

Volunteers from Baker Heights were joined by members of Bedington Volunteer Fire Department and personnel from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center Fire Department and the Martinsburg Fire Department, according to Roberts.

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