Apartment destroyed by fire; no one injured

MORGANTOWN — An apartment at 872 Stewart Street is uninhabitable after a fire Tuesday morning.

The fire did not spread to any other apartments and no one was injured, John Thorne, duty crew chief for Star City Volunteer Fire Department, said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, he said.

The department was called to the fire about 7:30 a.m. and the fire took about 15 minutes to put out, Thorne said.

Matthew Fleming, 39, said he was sleeping on the couch and when he woke up to go to his bedroom he noticed smoke coming out of the room.

He shut the door and woke his mom to tell her about the fire. While Fleming’s mother called 911, he went to the apartment next door to wake his sister, he said.

Fleming said he tried use to the fire extinguisher from the kitchen, but that he couldn’t stop the fire. He said most everything he owned was in the apartment.

“It’s a tough situation to face,” he said.

Neighbor Brittany Kowalski said she while asleep when she heard noise upstairs about 7:30 a.m., but she believed it was the kids that live above her running around.

Kowalski’s boyfriend went to check the sound out and it turned out to be firefighters knocking on doors. He came back and told her to get dressed, she said.

Her apartment is largely undamaged except for water on the floor, Kowalski said.

The building is owned by Pearand Corporation.

President Shawn Kelly said she is putting residents who need a place to stay into vacant units until the apartments are habitable again.

She said she hopes it’s only the one apartment that is out of commission long-term, but there are a lot of factors at play, such as how long it takes to restore power and gas – which were turned off.

“I’m just glad nobody was hurt,” Kelly said.

The American Red Cross was also at the scene of the fire Tuesday morning.

Disaster Team Member Fran Boyce said the Red Cross provides pre-paid gift cards so that victims of fire can get a hotel, clothes and food for a few days.

The Red Cross also helps connect fire victims with agencies that can help them and follows up in a few days to see how people are doing, Boyce said.

Star City VFD, Granville Fire Department, Westover Volunteer Fire Department, Brookhaven Volunteer Fire Department, Morgantown Fire Department, Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department, Mon Health EMS and Star City EMS responded.

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