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Blue Parrot, Model Cleaners destroyed in early morning fire on Mileground

MORGANTOWN — About the only thing left of the Blue Parrot Cabaret on Sunday afternoon was its famous marquee sign reading “Let’s Go Mountaineers” on one side and “Now Hiring Dancers” on the other.
A fast-moving fire roared through the gentleman’s club on Mileground Road shortly after 3:30 a.m. Sunday, leveling that structure along with Model Cleaners, a dry-cleaning establishment that sat close by.
No one was injured in the blaze that took 11 area fire companies more than seven hours to completely tame, Brookhaven Volunteer Fire Chief Jimmy Lipscomb said.
The last crew left the fire scene at 11 a.m., he said.
Both businesses were closed at the time of the fire, and no one was injured, Lipscomb said.
The two buildings were engulfed by the time crews arrived, the chief said.
“Both buildings were older, and they’d been added onto over the years,” he said. “You get fire in the cracks and the walls, and that’s it.”
The case was turned over to the state Fire Marshal’s office, Lipscomb said.
Both buildings were total losses, he said.
Wisps of smoke could be spied swirling from the embers of the ruined structures through the day Sunday, hours after the flames did their work.
As said, 11 crews from the region quickly dispatched to do their work. Morgantown and Westover fire companies lent ladder trucks for the cause.
A fire company from neighboring Mount Morris, Pa., sent its tanker truck.
Crews from Cheat Lake, the Clinton District, Cool Springs, Granville, River Road, Star City and Triune-Halleck also fought the fire, along with Brookhaven, Lipscomb’s company.
Both buildings were anchors of the bustling Mileground Road business community for years.
The Blue Parrot building once housed a seafood restaurant. Model Cleaners in recent years was bought by the western Pennsylvania dry-cleaning chain of the same name.
Owners of both establishments weren’t available for comment Sunday.
Despite the often R-rated nature of its business, the Blue Parrot in recent years has been both a commenter and proponent of community causes, often using that marquee sign to make its motivations known.
After hundreds of people lost their jobs at Mylan last spring, the sign called for support and sympathy of the furloughed workers, referring to them as “Heather’s victims” — a jab at Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, who is the daughter of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Two years ago, after devastating floods killed more than 20 people in southern West Virginia, the Blue Parrot’s sign received national attention when it announced a fundraiser for flood relief that only the club could do.
The Blue Parrot donated proceeds from lap dances to organizations helping families swept up in the disaster.
“When a fellow West Virginian needs help, you turn around and you help,” co-owner John Baron told reporters then.