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Fire rips through building with multiple businesses west of Hedgesville, W.Va.

September 04, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. — Fire raced through a building containing a gun business and a motorcycle shop along Baxter Road west of Hedgesville Wednesday morning in Berkeley County, according to a spokesman for the Hedgesville Volunteer Fire Co.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, fire was coming through the roof, Lt. Bradley Crowell said in a telephone interview.

Battling the blaze was challenging at first, because there were no fire hydrants in the area, Crowell said. But after firefighters established a water source, they were able to get the fire extinguished fairly quickly, he said.

Crowell said he believes the gun business — Arsenal of Democracy — was closed but getting ready to reopen. An apartment in the building was being rented but is now uninhabitable, he said.

Crowell estimated that 85 percent of the building at 1315 Baxter Road off W.Va. 9 was destroyed in the fire, which was reported at 11:45 a.m.

The cause of the fire had not been determined as of Wednesday evening, and the investigation is continuing, Crowell said.

There was concern about ammunition possibly being discharged in the fire, but authorities later determined that it was protected in a safe along with the guns, he said.

No one was in the two-story building at the time of the fire, but the owner of the building, who also owns Arsenal of Democracy, was at the scene, he said.

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