WAVERLY-A fire started by a turbo heater destroyed a welding shop Thursday.
Chuck West, owner of CW Welding, said he turned on the heater in his shop around 8 a.m. Thursday.
"I went to the bathroom, came out and it was on fire," he said.
Photo by Jody Murphy
Firefighters from four volunteer departments Thursday morning battled an industrial shop fire at the CW Welding shop, across from the Waverly Volunteer Fire Department.
West, who had been injured in a fire several years ago, said he exited the building.
"I just got out," he said.
In a matter of minutes, flames were raging in the 40-by-60 foot metal and block building.
Waverly Volunteer Fire Department Chief Terry Hefner said he could see the smoke from his porch two miles away.
"That's when I called in for other assistance," he said.
Crews from Williamstown, Vienna and Deerwalk arrived, in addition to Waverly, which was just a stone's throw from the shop.
"It was rolling," Hefner said of the fire as crews arrived.
Black smoke rolled hundreds of feet into the air, visible from miles away. Traffic on West Virginia 2 was halted as crews ran water lines from a hydrant across the street to the fire.
Sue Woodward, assistant superintendent of school services for Wood County Schools, said Waverly Elementary School began shelter-in-place procedures when they became aware of the fire, keeping students indoors and shutting down the air system to the school. Woodward said 911 officials assured them the school was in no danger and they did not believe chemicals were in the fire.
School officials "handled things very well. They did what they were supposed to do," she said.
Hefner said the building contained drums of fuel, hydraulics and oil.
It took firefighters more than 90 minutes to put out the fire. The building and its contents were a total loss.
West said the shop contained thousands of dollars in equipment, a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro and a 1967 Ford Mustang.
Several members of the Waverly VFD know West, who has done work for them. Hefner said West's brother is a member of the Waverly VFD.
The Wood County Fire Investigation Team was called to investigate because it was in a commercial structure and the value of the contents destroyed, Hefner said. The fire was not suspicious in origin, he said.