The fire that devastated an apartment complex on Thursday night in Fairlea was deemed a total loss according to fire department officials on the scene. Half of the 2-story building was ravaged by the fire. The other half was ruined by smoke damage. A total of 18 apartments were damaged. Officials are not sure at this date what caused the fire. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is handling the investigation.
As previously reported by WVVA.com, one tenant was alerted to the fire at around 9:15 p.m. Seeing smoke coming from her neighbor’s apartment, she grabbed a fire extinguisher and attempted to enter the kitchen, but said it was too hot to go any further. She then started yelling for other people to get out of the building. Though not confirmed, the apartment building was said to be fully engulfed when the initial call came in to dispatchers. Before all the flames were extinguished, firefighters were able to get inside the two-story building to make sure no one had been left behind. They reported the building was empty.
Multiple departments responded to the blaze, reported at 9:24 p.m., at the 22-unit Perrine Apartments on Fair Oaks Lane, off Route 219. Crews from Fairlea, Lewisburg, Ronceverte, Frankford, White Sulphur Springs, Rainelle and Alderson fire departments responded to the scene, as well as White Sulphur Springs EMS, Greenbrier County EMS, West Virginia State Police, the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department, Greenbrier County Homeland Security and Emergency Management were on scene as well. According to emergency dispatchers, a portion of Route 219 near the apartment complex was closed due to the fire.
All of the people living in the apartment complex were safely accounted for, according to Assistant Fire Chief with Fairlea Volunteer Fire Department, Gary Workman. One minor injury was reported, hospitalized and released.
Many of those left homeless were initially housed at the Rhema Christian Church. The local Red Cross assisted several displaced families with money for hotel rooms. Nearby neighbors also offered assistance to survivors, and local restaurants donated food as well. The owner of the apartment building offered other housing to the victims, but said they were not immediately available.