The difficulties of solving arson investigations - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

The difficulties of solving arson investigations

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  • Beckley Police investigate shots fired on 8th Street

    Beckley Police investigate shots fired on 8th Street

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:11 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:11:03 GMT
    A person opened fire at a home in Beckley during the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Detectives are investigating a case of shots fired along 8th Street, which is just off of Johnstown Road. The incident happened at around 2 a.m.
    A person opened fire at a home in Beckley during the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Detectives are investigating a case of shots fired along 8th Street, which is just off of Johnstown Road. The incident happened at around 2 a.m.
  • Deveron Patterson pleads guilty to 1st Degree Murder

    Deveron Patterson pleads guilty to 1st Degree Murder

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:45 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:45:11 GMT
    A case that began almost a year ago lead to a guilty plea in Kanawha County court on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Deveron Patterson, 26, of Raleigh County pleaded guilty to a First Degree Murder charge in connection with the death of Kareem Hunter in Sept. 2013.
    A case that began almost a year ago lead to a guilty plea in Kanawha County court on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Deveron Patterson, 26, of Raleigh County pleaded guilty to a First Degree Murder charge in connection with the death of Kareem Hunter in Sept. 2013.
  • Car Fire Investigation in Fayette County

    Car Fire Investigation in Fayette County

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:24 AM EDT2014-08-29 09:24:05 GMT
    A car fire early Friday morning (8/29)is being investigated in Fayette County.
    A car fire early Friday morning (8/29)is being investigated in Fayette County.

59 News is learning more details about an arson in our area that left about 30 people homeless.  59 News was first on the scene when the historic "Brick Row" apartments in Hinton, Summers County went up in flames in late February.  Investigators are revealing more information.

Investigators say a confrontation between Billy Joe Gill and someone who lives in one of the apartments at the "Brick Row" may have sparked the fire.  Hinton Police officials also say Gill set a family member's home on Fifth Avenue in Hinton on fire, just before setting the "Brick Row" on fire.

59 News is told the state fire marshal's office says they were called 765 times to investigate arsons last year.  In every case of arson, only 1 in 5 will be solved.

Investigators say they are stretched thin.  With the 11 investigators covering 55 counties in the state, they say it can take three days to arrive to a scene.  The state's budget is also stretched thin, so new investigators for the fire marshal's office will likely be on hold, according to fire marshal's.

By state code, if local fire investigators can not determine the origin and cause of a fire, the state fire marshal's office must be called.  State investigators get the call if someone dies, like the fatal fire in Leslie Bottom, Greenbrier County in late April.

If there's major injury or major economic loss of more than $500,000 dollars, state investigators will also be called to the scene.

People in Hinton are hoping the "Brick Row" will be torn down.  59 News has learned it is up to the owner to start the demolition process with these apartments, reduced to rubble.