Vacant home catches fire for the second time this year


On Thursday night, Wheeling police and fire departments responded to a house on South Huron Street on Wheeling Island. But it wasn't the first time this year they responded to this address.

"I was kind of afraid,” said Aidynn Chalmers. “It was really scary."

Just before dusk, several in the community watched the scene unfold.

“We toned out shortly before 7 o’clock for a structure fire on South Huron Street. Heavy smoke coming from the second floor and heavy flames showing from the back of the house,” said Philip Stahl, public information officer.

Witnesses say the smoke could be seen from interstate 70.

No one was inside. Officials and neighbors say the house was vacant, with no electricity.

The same house caught fire in the spring, which adds to the suspicion.

“That's kind of weird because no one lives there,” said Lauryn Fleming, nearby resident. “I don't know how that it would start. It's kind of weird.”

Crews extinguished the flames quickly, doing what they could to protect the house beside it. Officials aren't ready to determine whether this was intentional, but they say that it is suspicious.

"We were told it was a vacant structure but we can never assume it was vacant until we do a thorough check of the house,” Stahl said. “Until we do a sweep through, we'll know then.”

No one was hurt in the fire. The cause is under investigation. After a partial roof collapse, the house is determined to be a complete loss.

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