POMEROY — Eight fire departments responded to a house fire Wednesday near downtown Pomeroy, working in the punishing summer heat to prevent the flames from claiming other nearby buildings.
Multiple responders were treated for heat exhaustion as the fire consumed two buildings and damaged a third. At least three firefighters were sent to the emergency room for heat exhaustion and dehydration, though some sources said as many as six were eventually treated.
Fire officials said no one was occupying the buildings at the time of the blaze.
Meigs Emergency Services received a 1:21 p.m call Wednesday about a fire growing on a Pomeroy side street.
Within minutes, the Pomeroy, Middleport, and Rutland fire departments arrived to battle the blaze, which had spread to three buildings.
Pomeroy Fire Chief Rick Blaettnar described the initial alarm as a “working structure fire for 226 Spring Ave. It quickly ballooned out into the others,” prompting additional alarms.
Syracuse and Racine fire departments were called in, as were firefighters from Chester, Mason, W.Va., and New Haven, W.Va.
Meigs EMS arrived in full force, primarily to render aid for other first responders battling the high summer temperatures. Once the burning buildings were confirmed to be unoccupied, EMS Director Robbie Jacks described their mission “to take care of the firefighters. On a day like today, when it’s so hot, heat exhaustion and dehydration are major concerns.”
He said the “all call,” when the entire county’s services are alerted, saw wide involvement.
“Everyone is alerted and everyone responded,” including Portsmouth EMS, Mason and other auxiliaries.
As volunteers and EMS set up water and recovery stations, the fire departments coordinated arriving units as Meigs County sheriff’s deputies and Pomeroy police cordoned off a sizable section of Spring Avenue.
Pomeroy and Middleport ladder units fired water cannons from above, and Blaettnar said the fire was “contained to the base structures” before 4:30 p.m.
A firefighter in the subsequent waves described the size of the fire as “quite a good size, with the big duplex on one side and the single on the other. It was rolling when we got there.”
Bystanders said the largest of the burned structures belonged to the historic Meigs figure Helen Lyons, and that all the buildings had been vacant for an extended period.
Blaettnar confirmed the State Fire Marshal would investigate, but gave no indications of what may have caused the multiple-alarm fire.