UPDATE: What If It Were the Mansion?

By: WTAP News Email
By: WTAP News Email
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Updated: 6:50 P.M. 3/08/2013

The Assistant Superintendent of the Blennerhassett Island Historical Park spends most of his time on the island. He was there Thursday night when a fire broke out in a pickup truck, parked just a little more than ten feet from the historic mansion.

"I smelled gas in the vehicle, I had gotten out, the truck was on fire," Miles Everson recalled Friday. "I got in, turned it off, and started to put it out with our own fire extinguishers, called 911, and they finished putting out the fire."

Evanson says the mansion was built with fire-resistant materials, and has an alarm. It does not, however, have sprinkler systems. That, he says, is due to the lack of water pressure on the island.

"As of right now, we have not found a suitable way to have a supression system or anything like that in the mansion."

There are, quite honestly, fires, especially on the Ohio River, that firefighters need more than a bridge to get to. A fire on Blennerhassett Island certainly is one of them.

"It's my opinion that trying to prevent the fire and the source of the fire would be the first option," says Eric Taylor, Parkersburg Fire Chief. "Secondly, we would determine the best policy to address if there were events over there where we would need to respond."

Area responders used fire extinguishers to battle the pickup truck blaze. The city of Marietta just this winter accepted a new, state-of-the-art boat for major fires. Taylor says that's available to Parkersburg, but it would be more than 15 minutes away. And, while it hasn't happened in recent years, the ohio river has been known to freeze over.

Tthe chairman of the island foundation board admits other things matter more than the mansion itself.

"When you're on an island, you're talking really big expenses when you're talking about those kinds of things," says Chairman Cecil Childress. "I'm sure their first concern is going to be safety of people, and assets after that."

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UPDATE 10:45 p.m.

Fire investigators are working to determine what caused the truck fire on Blennerhassett Island.

Assistant Fire Chief Tim Robinson says there were no inuries and no structural damage to any of the buildings on the island.
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UPDATE 6:50 p.m.

Dispatchers confirm the vehicle fire on Blennerhassett Island is out. Fire crews from Parkersburg and Blennerhassett remain on scene.

Dispatchers say there is no damage to the mansion. The fire was completely contained to the vehicle.
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911 dispatchers confirm there is a fully involved vehicle fire on Blennerhassett Island.

Parkersburg Fire and Blennerhassett and Belpre Volunteer Departments are responding.

Firefighters tell us the vehicle is 12 feet from the mansion and firefighters on scene are using extinguishers to get it under control until crews can get on scene.

Firefighters say the mansion is not on fire.

We'll keep you updated here on thenewscenter.tv and Fox Parkersburg News at 10 and WTAP News at 11.


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