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WV Fire Marshal: Apartment Fire Apparant Case of Arson

As you may recall, the blaze broke out around 1 a.m. Saturday at an apartment complex off Gerrardstown Road and Winchester Avenue.

INWOOD, W.Va. - Fire investigators believe a weekend fire that killed six pets and displaced more than 30 people at an Inwood apartment complex was purposely set.

Reward signs are now posted outside the damaged apartment complex off Gerrardstown Road and Winchester Avenue where a fire broke out around 1 a.m. Saturday morning. 

Crews fought the blaze for nearly four hours. It displaced more than 30 people, killed at least six pets and injured a firefighter.

According to investigators, witnesses reported hearing glass break before seeing a ball of fire spread in the backyard, raising suspicions that the fire was set intentionally.

"Through witness statements, all I can say, is it looks like there was some intent to the fire,” said West Virginia Fire Marshal George Harms.

Although fire marshals say most of the evidence so far points toward arson, they have to wait for lab reports to confirm it.

"Once the evidence comes back telling us that there were accelerants used, or whatever type of material was used, then we could call it at that point an incendiary type fire,” said Harms.

Only four out of the 16 apartments were heavily burnt, but smoke and water damage has left the entire building inhabitable. Officials say without the fire walls that are installed in between the apartment, the damage would have been much worse.

"The actual fire walls did their job and stopped the spread of fire,” said Harms. “But obviously, they could only hold so long, and if they didn't hold or they weren't constructed well, you could've had a lot of people that were injured."

Fire officials say they will continue to look into all leads as the investigation continues.

There is a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

If you have any information about this fire, you are asked to call the West Virginia Arson Hotline at 1-800-233-3473.

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