By RACHEL C. DOVE
LENORE - While on his way to assist with cleanup of an accident scene on U.S. 119 Thursday morning involving an 18-Wheeler fully loaded with coal that turned over after the driver lost control, Lenore Volunteer Fire Chief Jeffrey “Skip” Ferris found himself heading back toward Lenore after an emergency call was placed reporting a home engulfed in flames.
According to the chief, a call was received at approximately 7:30 a.m. after a passerby noticed flames shooting from a one-story unoccupied home located on a hill close to Cheech’s Pizza and the Lenore Post Office. Ferris said that the home was currently being renovated, and that no utilities were on inside the residence.
“I contacted the West Virginia Fire Marshal’s office to investigate the fire to determine how it started,” said Ferris. “Since there was no electric or gas turned on at the vacant home, it makes you suspect that this might have been an act of arson.”
The home was owned by David Bartam and Chief Ferris estimated the property loss to be in the vicinity of $30,000.
Ferris responded to the structure fire with two trucks and eight firefighters. He also had firefighters and EMT’s assisting with the coal truck accident on U.S. 119 that occurred near Mike’s Harley Davidson. The chief said that the driver was not injured in the accident, but commented that it took some time to remove the large amount of the coal that spilled into both north-bound lanes when the truck overturned.
“We had a very busy morning, that’s for sure,” said Ferris. “I want to commend all my firemen for their continued dedication to our department. They do a great job.”