Update: Fire Destroys Westover Apartment Building - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Update: Fire Destroys Westover Apartment Building

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Five people, including two children, were hospitalized after fire destroyed an apartment complex in Westover Friday morning.

Firefighters believe a grease fire got out of control. Assistant State Fire Marshal Mackey Ayersman said David Mathews, who suffered facial burns and burns to his left arm, said he was deep drying chicken on the stove. He said he attempted to extinguish the fire but was unable, so he alerted the other apartment residents. Matthews is in good condition and is scheduled to be release from the West Penn Burn Center, said Ayersman.

Paul "Chip" Ireland told Ayersman that his wife, Barb Bowman Ireland, was on a ventilator at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. He said her condition is improving but said she received burns to 50 percent of her body. Paul "Chip" Ireland is off of a ventilator and receiving second degree burns to his face, hand, and ear.

An unnamed 4-year-old child suffered minor facial burns and is still on a ventilator. An unnamed 2-year-old was treated and released from Ruby Memorial Hospital.

The complex had twelve apartments.

The state fire marshal is still investigating.

Update:

Five people, including two children are in the hospital after fire destroyed an apartment complex in Westover Friday morning.

Firefighters believe a grease fire got out of control.

The man who lived in the unit was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital and then to West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. where he is on a ventilator.

Four occupants living directly above were transported for burns and smoke inhalation.

A three year old child is at Ruby Memorial. The other child is at Mercy Hospital.

Two adults were taken to Pittsburgh. They are also on ventilators.

The complex had twelve apartments.

The state fire marshal is still investigating.

Original Story

A fire destroyed an apartment building Friday morning in Westover on Nebraska Street. Several fire departments responded. 

MECCA 911 received the call just after 6:30 a.m.  Five people, including two children, are being treated at the hospital.  The building had 12 apartments with four occupants in each one.  Crews cleared the scene just before 9:30 a.m. Friday.

The fire at the apartment complex displaced almost 40 people. The Monongalia County Emergency Management and the Red Cross set up a shelter at the Granville Social Hall, to help those people out.

Authorities said sheltering the people displaced from their homes was the first priority.

Residents that lived in the complex said that it all happened so fast.

"I went to my car to start it up to let it warm up and I mean it was only like 3-4 minutes. I looked in my rear view mirror and I saw another resident and I thought they were taking their children to school," said resident Missy Galtian. "And then I saw the smoke. It was gone, it was engulfed in a matter of minutes."

Jimmy Smith from the Monongalia County Emergency Management said there are a few important things to remember if you are involved in a situation like this.

"When you have a fire in one of those large apartment complexes like this, before you just leave the scene, make sure somebody on scene knows your name, knows the apartment you're in," Smith said. "That way when all of the authorities get there they can account for everybody in all of the apartments."

The Red Cross met with each of the families that were at the shelter to help them find a place to stay.

But that isn't the only thing the families need.

"We need clothes. We lost everything, everything. So, as long as we can get some clothes and maybe some help with shelter," said Galtian. "Everybody has got to take care of everybody when you live in an apartment complex like that," Galtian said. You really do, you have to watch out for everybody."

When the fire started, several residents even went back into the apartment complex to wake others.