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Vacant house catches fire

 Building thought to be occupied by “unauthorized inhabitants”

A vacant house on Richwood Avenue was the scene of a second alarm fire on Monday night, making it the most recent abandoned building to catch fire in Morgantown.

The Morgantown Fire Department responded to 829 Richwood Avenue, a one-story vacant house, just before 8 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, flames were showing from a window but the fire was brought under control in about five minutes, the MFD said.

No firefighters or civilians were injured, the MFD said.

It’s estimated the fire caused about $20,000 in damage.

Investigators determined the building was recently occupied by “unauthorized inhabitants” and are investigating the fire further.

Monday night’s fire is one of many abandoned in recent years with signs of recent activity or drug use prior to a fire.

On Oct. 29, an abandoned building that used to house Wild Zero Studios on Pleasant Street caught fire.

Fire Chief Mark Caravasos said there appeared to be signs of drug use, forced entry and somebody being on the property.

In June, an abandoned home on Beechurst Avenue was destroyed.

In March, a vacant building owned by the Morgantown Utility Board on Don Knotts Boulevard caught fire and investigators found signs people had been living there.

In February, a condemned house on Brockway Avenue caught fire, and it was believed there were people in it at the time the fire started.

That fire was within feet of the site of a January 2019 fire in an abandoned building on Overdale Street which is still only half demolished.

A fire also destroyed an abandoned home on Forest Avenue in July 2019.

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