Apartment Fire Displaces More Than 30 People, Kills Six Pets


INWOOD, W.Va. -  More than 30 people who live in an apartment complex off Gerrardstown Road and Winchester Avenue in Inwood are now left without a home after a fire broke out behind the building around 1 a.m. Saturday.

It’s something resident Jordan Hasenbuhler never saw coming.

"As we pulled into the drive, we realized that not just our apartment but three others were majorly engulfed in flames,” said Hasenbuhler, who was at a movie when the fire started right in her backyard.

Fire marshals say a gas leak made it more difficult to put out the blaze.

"The fire spread to a gas line and the gas line actually contributed to the fire at that point in time,” said W.Va. State Fire Marshal George Harms. “The gas company did a great job responding, they actually had to dig up a line and pinch it off for this apartment complex."

All residents were able to escape safely, but one firefighter from the South Berkeley Volunteer Fire Department was injured and taken to Berkeley Medical Center. He has since been released from the hospital.

Many displaced residents say they are thankful to be alive but are still trying to recover from the reality of losing almost everything, including some pets. They say a total of three dogs and three cats died.

Jordan lost two cats but says she thanks the firefighters who were able to save her three other pets.

"The firefighters went in and saved multiple pets, went in multiple times just to check,” said Hasenbuhler.

Out of the 16 apartments, four were heavily damaged by the fire. The others have smoke and water damage, so residents will not be able to move back in any time soon. Most residents are just clinging to local support for now.

"Even at a time like this, when literally you have nothing, you have the hope and the support and backbone of people, strangers coming up saying, I’ve been through this,” said Hasenbuhler.

Fire marshals say the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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