At least three people are without a home after two houses on 15th Street in East Wheeling went up in flames overnight.
According to Wheeling Fire Chief Larry Helms, fire broke out at 195 and 197 15th street around 2:30 Saturday morning. The house where the fire started was not occupied but flames spread quickly into a neighboring home.
"According to first reports, the building that was initially on fire is a vacant building but its possibly frequented by homeless," he says. "We're looking into that right now to make sure we further investigate to make sure nobody is in there."
A cadaver dog searched the house where the fire started later Saturday morning to make sure no one was inside. Luckily, nobody was injured but the owners of the neighboring house say that the dog they sadly lost to the fire saved their lives when he woke them up and alerted them to the danger. At least one cat was also lost in the fire.. but at least two more dogs were saved.
Helms says vacant structures pose a hazard to his men, because they can't be sure if the house is structurally sound enough to fight the fire from the inside.
"In this case, the first floor was pretty much either already torn out or had already been impinged by fire and deteriorated," he says. "Entering that structure was pretty much impossible. It became more of a strategic event to protect the exposures on either side."
The gas company was called to the scene to remove lines to both houses. Investigators are still trying to determine a cause of the fire.
A fire has destroyed two homes early Saturday morning in East Wheeling.
The fire broke out at about 2:30 a.m. at 195 and 197 15th Street in Wheeling. Authorities said the fire was put out at about 5 a.m. Saturday morning.
According to Fire Chief Larry Helms, this was a two-alarm fire. No one was injured, but one dog and possibly three cats perished.