Early morning fire claims one life; leaves Pike Street in ashes

Rachel Baldwin

January 11, 2014

Rachel Baldwin

WILLIAMSON - An emergency call placed in the wee hours of Saturday morning to Mingo County 911 sent firefighters scrambling to the downtown area, where a fiery path of destruction left one dead, and was spreading throughout several businesses and apartments located on Pike Street.

Three fire departments - Williamson, Chattaroy and Delbarton - responded, and volunteers from across the Tug River from the Belfry Fire Department also lent a hand. Although the cause of the fire is unknown at this time, the State Fire Marshal’s office was expected to be on the scene around noon Saturday to lend a hand with the investigation of the fire and fatality.

Four individuals who resided in apartments located over the Ooh, La - La Doggie Spa, where the victim’s body was found, were taken to Williamson Memorial Hospital, according to Interim Mingo County Emergency Services Director Doug Goolsby. Two of those injured suffered burns. No information concerning the extent of their injuries or their current conditions could be obtained before press deadline.

“I was very concerned that one of the residents who lived in the apartments may not have escaped because he was not among those taken to the hospital, and had not been seen by any of his neighbors or by law enforcement,” said Williamson Police Department Patrolman Josh Tincher, who was one of the first to arrive on scene.

“This is a sad tragedy to know a life was lost here this morning, and our thoughts are with the family of the deceased and also with the others who were injured,” Tincher said.

“We’re a close-knit community and we hate to hear news such as this.”

Businesses affected by the fire include Pecco’s Carryout, the Ooh, La-La Doggie Spa, and other buildings that previously housed businesses that had included a tattoo parlor, a beauty salon and a thrift store.

As the fire continuedaround the corner to Third Avenue, one building was destroyed that was said to have been vacant, but was recently the home of a print shop. The firefighters fought the blaze from above the rooftop with the aid of the aerial ladder truck, as well as through several ground assaults. The blaze was contained before it claimed other victims or property.