State Investigating Massive Factory Fire in West Virginia

Photo courtesy of West Virginia Fire Marshal

While West Virginians in the Southern region of the Mountain State were busy celebrating Bridge Day, their neighbors along the Ohio River were battling a large commercial fire.

The West Virginia State Fire Marshal has confirmed that state investigators responded to a large commercial fire at the old Ames Plant in Parkersburg, in Wood Co, West Virginia, Saturday.  The building is believed to have caught fire in the early hours of Saturday, October 21.

The plant is located on Camden Avenue in Parkersburg and has been described as an “old shovel plant”.

According to initial reports, there were no injuries; however, the fire has created excessive smoke clouds which many residents complained hampered their ability to breathe.

Emergency officials strongly advised residents near the fire to stay indoors and to avoid breathing the air outside while the blaze was in its maximum.

At 5:54 p.m. Saturday, the Sheriff’s Office of neighboring Washington County, Ohio, shared a press release from Unified Command, via Wood County which stated: 

“At present officials are conducting air quality testing as well as lab testing of sample fallout material taken from Parkersburg and surrounding areas.

“Until these samples are examined [and] the substances contained within the smoke cloud is determined to be safe or not, we would strongly suggest avoiding exposure to the smoke and its byproduct.

“The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for conducting this testing. We are also getting reports of particle fallout material in locations in Williamstown and Marietta. These particles can be harmful to the respiratory system. Once again we would strongly advise not to expose yourself to these particles. Initial air monitoring testing completed in the immediate and surrounding area of the fire scene shows air to be within acceptable quality limits. Please keep children indoors and cancel or postpone all outdoor sports and activities until tests are complete. Your safety is paramount and we are working towards obtaining the information that is needed to ensure it.”

At 7:39 p.m. Saturday, Wood County, West Virginia E-911 released the following statement:

“Laboratory test of samples taken of fallen ash from the Ames fire is reported to be non-toxic to residents.”

Emergency crews working the inferno say the blaze could burn for weeks.  Appalachian Magazine has not yet learned from investigators the cause of the fire.

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