Spencer apartment building burns to ground after stovetop fire

By Megan Workman
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Almost 12 hours after firefighters responded to an apartment fire in downtown Spencer, 800,000 gallons of water had been sprayed on the structure that had to be demolished after a fire ripped through the building, according to the captain of the Spencer-Roane County Volunteer Fire Department.Jim Harris said his crew and eight other fire departments responded to a fire at 2:30 p.m. Friday in a nine-unit apartment building in Spencer. Harris said the volunteer firefighters got back to their station at 1:42 a.m. Saturday.The apartment complex, at 111 Market St., sat between two buildings but the firefighters "controlled the fire so those buildings weren't affected at all," Harris said."It totally destroyed the building. We had to knock the building down to get the fire out," Harris said. "It gutted the second and third floor. It was in the walls and the walls were bowing out and some bowing in."Firefighters had a demolition contractor knock the building down, he said, which was completely destroyed by the fire.Harris said he didn't know the name of the apartment complex, but it used to be a hospital that had been converted to apartments a few years ago.
Harris said the blaze started when something on the kitchen stove in apartment 9 on the third floor caught on fire. He didn't give any more information about how the fire started.One adult lived in apartment 9, Harris said. That person was on their way back to the apartment as it quickly consumed the building.Fortunately, no one was harmed during the fire and everyone got out safely, he said.Harris said the American Red Cross is assisting the families. He said he doesn't know where the families are staying.Firefighters from Roane County, Calhoun County and Jackson County responded to the fire.Reach Megan Workman at megan.workman@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.
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