Vacant house total loss after fire; neighboring home also damaged

April 6, 2019

HUNTINGTON — No one was injured when a vacant house caught fire along Rutland Avenue in Huntington on Friday.

No one was inside the house at the time and neighbors said it had been unoccupied since at least 2017, when it previously caught fire.

Huntington Deputy Fire Chief Rodney Wren said the fire was reported at approximately 10:17 a.m.

Cabell County 911 dispatchers, who have surveillance cameras in the neighborhood, reported seeing flames shooting out of the roof and the house nearly engulfed.

It took approximately 45 minutes to get the fire under control, Wren said. A crew with Appalachian Power was called to turn off electricity to a nearby power line so crews could circle the house and extinguish any hot spots.

There was no power at the vacant home and the fire’s cause is still under investigation, he said.

The home next door, located at 2 Rutland Ave., received extensive heat damage. However, nothing inside the home was damaged, said Ray Peterson, who was inside with his infant son when the blaze began.

Peterson said he was initially unaware of the fire until a neighbor came to warn him. He grabbed the infant and got out before the fire began melting siding off his home.

Brandie Gord, who also lives with Peterson, was just getting home when she spotted the fire and several fire trucks along the street. Gord and Peterson said they were thankful for their neighbor, John Collins, and said things could have been much worse.

Collins lives in a house overlooking the vacant home. He was sitting down at his table when he first saw smoke and ran over to his window.

Seeing the fire, Collins ran down the hill to warn his neighbor.

“I was pounding on his door,” Collins said. “I said, ‘Ray, you’ve got to get out of here.’”

The house has been vacant since at least the day before Thanksgiving in 2017, he said. Shortly after that, the house was set ablaze but did not burn down completely.

Wren said the house was a total loss in Friday’s fire.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.