Wheeling Fire News Updates


Wheeling Fire News Updates

South York Street Fire Investigation

Wheeling Firefighters were called to the scene of a house fire at 315 South York Street on Wheeling Island Sunday afternoon, January 3.

An occupant at the address called 911 around 2:43 p.m., and informed dispatchers the house was on fire. When the first responding engine company arrived on scene, flames could be seen coming from the front room and porch area of the house.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control quickly and rescue two cats inside. No one else was injured. Ohio County Animal Control was called to care for the animals.

Investigators will work to determine a cause.

WFD Issues Safety Reminder on Home Heating Devices During Upcoming Cold Snap

With frigid temperatures approaching the area next week, the Wheeling Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Prevention is reminding the public to be cautious during the remainder of the winter season, particularly when using alternative sources of heat.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, two in five wintertime fires are caused by space heaters, as well as most associated deaths and injuries. Fireplaces or chimneys were involved in approximately three in 10 home heating equipment fires.

“Over the last several years, we’ve unfortunately had to fight multiple wintertime fires where the cause came back to a secondary heating source,” said Assistant Fire Chief Deric Jamison. “Space heaters are not intended to be used as a main source of heat and should never be left unattended.”

Space heaters should be kept at a minimum three-foot distance from other objects. Fire professionals also suggest never using an oven or stove burners to heat a home. They also want to remind everyone to always turn heating devices off when leaving a room or a house altogether.

Another issue seen during cold weather snaps is indoor water pipes freezing or bursting. The WFD recommends keeping all indoor areas at a minimum 40 degrees to prevent any possible water damage.

WFD also reminds the public to check your smoke alarm batteries and carbon monoxide detectors regularly. Roughly three out of five fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms.

South Wheeling Fatal Fire Investigation

Wheeling Firefighters are investigating a fatal fire that occurred late Tuesday evening. Shortly after 9 p.m., firefighters were called to 4224 Jacob Street in South Wheeling after a passerby called 911 to report a house fire.

When crews arrived, heavy fire could be seen coming from the first floor accompanied by thick smoke. Firefighters battled the fire for more than an hour before getting it under control and extinguished.

Two adults were found inside the house deceased. Both will be sent to the state medical examiners office in Charleston, W.Va. for positive identification and to determine a cause of death. WFD’s Bureau of Fire Investigations will work to determine a cause and find the origin of the fire.

Avenue Eats Fire Update

The Wheeling Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Investigations announced today the Nov. 1, 2020 fire at Avenue Eats, located at 1201 Valley View Ave has been ruled accidental.

Surveillance video shows the fire started from a heat source coming from the exterior of the building. The fire was not suspicious in nature.

No Injuries in Early Morning Downtown Apartment Fire

This morning, around 4:20 a.m., a fire alarm activation sent Wheeling firefighters to the Booker T. Washington apartments in downtown.

Moments later, a resident of the complex called 9-1-1 to report smoke inside.

When crews arrived, they discovered a fifth floor apartment on fire and with the assistance of police, began evacuating all residents from the building.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to a single apartment unit and get the situation under control in about 30 minutes. All residents were accounted for and no one was injured.

A fire investigator will work to determine a cause.

Valley View Avenue Fire Investigation

Wheeling firefighters were called the scene of a structure fire just after 5 a.m. Sunday at the corner of Washington Avenue and Valley View Avenue in the Pleasanton neighborhood of Wheeling.

When firefighters arrived on scene, there was heavy fire coming from the rear of the structure and the roof area. The building housed the neighborhood eatery “Avenue Eats” and residential apartments.

No one was hurt and the building is a complete loss.

Based on the initial findings, the fire appears to have started in the rear of the building, however fire investigators have not yet determined a cause and are in the early stages of their investigative work.

National Fire Prevention Week 2020 Set for October 4-10

The Wheeling Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Prevention invites the public to take part in National Fire Prevention Week – set for October 4-10, 2020.

This year’s national theme is “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” and is centered around cooking safety. The campaign works to educate people about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves safe of injury in the kitchen.

“More people are staying in and cooking from home more because of the on-going pandemic. This year’s theme is a perfect opportunity to focus on the kitchen and the fire hazards that exist with cooking,” said Assistant Wheeling Fire Chief Deric Jamison. “Unattended cooking and not paying attention to what’s happening on the stove is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen.”

One in five home fires start in the kitchen. WFD wants to remind the public of three key safety measures to take if you experience a kitchen fire.

  1. “Put a lid on it” if you have a fire on the stove.
  2. Keep cooking areas clear of clutter
  3. Stay focused on what your cooking

Additionally, burns are very common in the kitchen. Always use oven mitts when handling hot food on the stove or in the oven.

National Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the “Great Chicago Fire” of Oct. 8-10, 1871, which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres.

Due to COVID-19, the fire department will not be conducting any tours of its fire safety house or hold open houses at its fire stations as in year’s past. However, informational public meet and greets at the Mount deChantal Kroger and the Elm Grove Reisbeck’s will take place this week with outdoor socially distanced measurements in place.

WFD also reminds everyone to change the batteries in their smoke alarms twice a year – most notably when we change the clocks for “Fall Back” and “Spring Forward.” Fall Back 2020 is 2 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 1.

Wheeling Fire Department Releases 2020 Stats

Overall calls for fire and emergency medical services decreased in 2020, the first yearly decline in recent memory, according to the Wheeling Fire Department’s annual statistics released Thursday. The department previously had a record-breaking year for service calls in 2019, however, despite the drop in calls, 2020 brought on several different challenges.

“Last year was quite an up and down hurdle for the department,” said Fire Chief Larry Helms. “Overall, our call volume dropped, including most categories of service. In the spring, people stayed at home, and continued to stay put throughout the year. We believe because of that, people were more attentive to their surroundings, which helped reduce household fire risks. We did not have many severe weather-related events as we did in previous years; vehicle crashes/injuries were down, and medical calls dropped because we think people did not want to go the hospital.”

Chief Helms said one of the greatest obstacles for the department was not day-to-day business, or responding to certain types of calls, but purchasing safety supplies.

“Throughout a normal year, we are stocked with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). However, one our greatest concerns last year, during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was having enough N-95 masks, gowns, gloves and cleaning supplies. Thankfully, with the help of many in the local and statewide emergency management system, we worked through these issues and are prepared now more than ever for this long-lasting health crisis,” said Helms.

Overall, the total 2020 service calls tallied up at 6,899, down 4% from the previous recording breaking year of 7,204. Fire calls declined by 21%, followed by a reduction of false fire alarms by 19%, mostly because schools, restaurants and businesses were closed for several weeks during the spring stay at home order.

Medical calls were down overall by 4% compared to 2019, however overdose related calls were up by 22%. Of the total calls for service – 65% are medically related.

Call types that saw a slight increase were service calls by 13% and good intent calls by 13%.

Calls are categorized by the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) Code Guide. A breakdown of the 2020 calls for service are as follows:

Total Calls for Service:

  1. Fire: 100
  2. Overpressure/Explosion/Overheat (no fire): 51
  3. Rescue/EMS/Medical: 4,434
  4. Hazardous Condition/No Fire: 144
  5. Service Calls: 893
  6. Good Intent Call: 608
  7. False Alarm/False Call: 657
  8. Severe Weather/Natural Disaster: 7
  9. Special Incident Type: 5

The Wheeling Fire Department has serviced the residents and visitors of the City of Wheeling since 1869 and staffs 97 full-time firefighters/EMTs in seven fire stations throughout the city.

I-70 Eastbound Fulton Bridge Closure Beginning Monday, February 1

The West Virginia Division of Highways advises that, beginning Monday, February 1, 2021, I-70 Eastbound will be closed from US 250 & WV 2 South - 16th Street Exit (Exit 1B) to the Oglebay Park Exit (Exit 2A) in order to begin phase two of the Fulton Bridge Replacement as part of the I-70 Forward Bridges Project. The US-250 North on-ramp to I-70 East will also be closed as a part of phase two. These closures will continue for approximately nine months.  All thru traffic is advised to use I-470 as the official detour to reach points East, while local traffic is encouraged to use US-40 Eastbound. Detour signage will be in place to assist drivers in navigating the route change.

Heads up, phones down! Motorists are advised to be alert for changing traffic patterns and to expect delays. Any questions or concerns regarding the I-70 Bridges Project can be directed to the hotline at 304-810-3214. For additional information regarding the project, visit i70forward.com. Inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances could impact the project schedule.