Early Sunday morning, a blaze destroyed three buildings on Main Street in Marlinton. The conflagration consumed the McK, now known as The Old Bank Building, Dirt Bean Ohana and Hudson’s Variety Store buildings. Firefighting units from as far away as Lewisburg responded to the scene. The first alarm sounded at about 2:30 a.m. Early, unofficial reports indicated the fire started in the Hudson’s store building.
A strong southerly wind hampered efforts by firefighters to contain the blaze. The wind blew directly into the front of the McK Building, intensifying flames inside the structure. A portion of the building’s top brick facade collapsed into the street at about 8:30 a.m., as the fire continued to burn.
At 11:30 a.m., the fire continued to burn in a northern, one-story extension of the McK Building. Firefighters were concentrating their efforts there to prevent the fire from spreading to a wood-frame residence across an alleyway to the north. A gusty southerly wind continued to feed the flames inside the structure.
Assistant State Fire Marshall Tim Mouse arrived before noon and began an investigation of the fire. State Delegate Bill Hartman and Lynn Phillips, representing Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, met with local officials at noon to get an update on the situation and determine if state assistance was needed.
By 2 p.m., the fire was completely contained and three formerly vibrant downtown buildings were smoldering ruins. Marlinton Mayor Joe Smith said the Division of Highways would provide heavy equipment to knock down the remaining walls of the burnt buildings.
The historic McK Building housed apartments, a Nationwide Insurance office, The Corner Salon and WIC offices. Dirt Bean Ohana was a popular Main Street coffee shop and restaurant. Hudson’s Variety Store was an arts and crafts retailer.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE
Firefighters guarded the scene Sunday night. Breezy, dry conditions kept the ruins of the Old Bank Building smoldering through the night and flames reappeared Monday morning. Marlinton VFD arrived back on-site with a tanker truck at 10 a.m. and began hosing down the smoldering ruins. A call went out on 9-1-1 at 10:30 a.m. Monday, requesting additional tanker truck assistance from Hillsboro, Durbin and Shavers Fork fire departments.
See Thursday’s edition of The Pocahontas Times for a complete report.