UPDATE (4:21 p.m. on September 30): Below is a statement from Deputy Jason Baltic:
On Wednesday, Sept. 29, investigators from the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the Harrison area of Clay County, after a report of two separate church fires located within one mile of each other. The fires also occurred within one hour of each other. After examining both fire scenes, investigators determined the latter fire to be incendiary in cause. The cause of the initial fire is currently undetermined. Both fires remain under investigation.Deputy Jason Baltic
UPDATE: (5:30 p.m. on September 29) – Firefighters responded to fires at two churches in the Duck area of Clay County this morning, and now the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.
One of those churches, People’s Community Church, is a total loss. All that’s left of the building is a pile of ashes and rubble. Jennifer Vuffield said she has several memories of what was once her childhood church.
“I enjoyed being here and now it’s no longer,” Vuffield said. “Just a lot of memories, a lot of fun with the neighbor kids, this was where we all came.”
The West Virginia State Fire Marshal is investigating this fire and another that happened soon after on the same road. Officials say Flat Fork Baptist Church received minor damage. A witness tells WOWK 13 News the fire at that church started in the basement.
Volunteer fire departments Clay County were on scene to put out the flames. Officials said this morning both fires were under control this morning and no injuries or entrapments were reported.
The causes of the fires are still unknown at this time. Deputy State Fire Marshall Jason Baltic said the investigation into these fires could take up to six months. He encourages anyone to report any suspicious activity.
“Right now everything is considered undetermined and we start out with undetermined and we’ll see where the evidence leads us,” Baltic said. “Anybody, any person that seems odd or acting suspicious, definitely take not of it and call the fire marshal’s office”
Vuffield can’t help but get emotional thinking about the memories of her once church, now gone and says she wonders what will happen next.
“I’ve always had great memories here and it’s just… I don’t know it’s just sad,” Vuffield said. “Just wonder where they’re gonna go now, where they’re gonna fellowship.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 1-800-233-3473.
CLAY COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Clay County Dispatchers say firefighters are responding to two church fires in the Duck area of Clay County
While emergency crews were on the scene of a fire at People’s Community Church on Flat Fork Road, they received a call about a second fire reported at Flat Fork Church, just within two miles from the blaze they were currently fighting.
According to dispatchers, there were no injuries or entrapments and both fires are under control.
The Clay, Big Otter and Birch River volunteer fire departments responded to the scene.