CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Charleston Fire Department says the cause of the Regal Apartments fire on Wednesday has been declared as “undetermined.”
According to CFD Fire Chief Craig Matthews and Captain David Hodges, investigators from the CFD Fire Prevention Bureau say they were not able to determine a cause due to the “extensive damage and structural instability” from the fire.
The fire began around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, and raged for several hours. Fire crews were on the scene until 3:45 a.m. Thursday morning.
Demolition on the building began Wednesday night while the flames were still going as a measure to control the fire. Hodges said demolishing the building during the fire is a rare decision, but in this case, it was the best way to control the fire.
The CFD says the investigation included interviews, scene analysis and private-owned video surveillance. According to the investigators, should they find additional information relevant to the fire, the case would be reopened.
The CFD says the building was constructed in 1930. Of the 37 units in the building, 35 were occupied, and nearly 100 residents lost their homes and belongings in the blaze. None of the residents or the firefighters were injured, the CFD says. However, one man tells WOWK 13 News his beloved dog did die in the fire.
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper says the commission plans to donate $25,000 to the Red Cross to help the displaced residents. With all of their belongings destroyed, the Red Cross and several organizations throughout the Charleston community are working to help the residents get back on their feet.