UPDATE: BECKLEY (WOAY) – The Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in the fire at Paradise Pets.
The suspect has been identified and interviewed. At this time evidence suggest that there was a prior physical altercation between the parties involved that led up to the vehicle crash.
Involved parties are still being interviewed and the case remains under investigation.
Stay with WOAY for more information on this developing story.
ORIGINAL STORY: 2/3/18
BECKLEY (WOAY) – More information released on the fire that broke out at Paradise Pets in Beckley.
At approximately 10:44 pm on February 2nd, 2018; firefighters were dispatched to Cohen St in Sprague for a Motor Vehicle Crash with injuries and fire. The vehicle was reported to be on fire after striking the gas meter at the rear of the commercial building known as Paradise Pets. While firefighters were responding, a Raleigh County Sheriffs Deputy arrived at the crash and reported an active fire at the gas meter with flames going into the rear of the business. Several attempts were made to extinguish the flames with fire extinguishers but efforts were minimal.
Engine 2 and Engine 3 responded with a full crew of firefighters just shortly after the initial dispatch. A request was made for Beckley Fire Department to respond per our county mutual aid agreement which allows them to provide quick assistance. Engine 2 and a Beckley FD engine started extinguishment at the rear of the building where the accident occurred. Shortly after, Engine 3 arrived and was given the task of entering the business to stop any more fire from spreading.
As the firefighters entered the heavily smoked filled building, they reported that animals were trapped inside and focused their attention on rescuing any animals before more smoke could harm them. Firefighters rescued several small and large birds, rabbits, dogs, a few fish and several other animals including snakes and an alligator. Unfortunately, several snakes and another alligator did not survive. Once the rescues were completed, firefighters focused their attention to extinguish the rest of the fire. The fire had traveled from the rear of the business, up the wall and into the attic space. Assistance from surrounding departments was called and those firefighters arrived to help. Firefighters struggled to breach the ceiling of the business due to the type of construction but had finally made progress in stopping the spread.
Due to the frigid temperatures, firefighters struggled for hours dealing with thick layers of ice and hypothermia. Several EMS units from Jan Care Ambulance responded and provided warming stations and medical treatment for the personnel on scene. Several firefighters were injured due to the fire and scene conditions but were treated by EMS on the scene. One firefighter from Beaver VFD had suffered a fall and was transported to a local emergency room for treatment but was released this morning.
At this time, the rescued animals were taken to several homes for shelter until the owners could relocate them. We would like to thank all the firefighters and other personnel who assisted.