Residents want answers following fire that displaced Mozart family

Emergencies

MOZART, W.Va. (WTRF) – It’s a devastating scene Tuesday in Mozart after a fire that attacked three structures, left one family looking for a place to call home.

It’s a miserable situation. I loved the Dunaway’s. It destroyed their house. They just remodeled a lot of that in there—now they don’t have a house.

ARTHUR GABLE—LONG-TIME RESIDENT, NEIGHBOR

Homeless—That’s the situation one family is now facing after a fire started in a vacant home at 10 South Frazier Avenue at 3:15 am. Firefighters say it collapsed just 20 minutes after they got there, spreading to the home on the right and ripping through the inside of the structure.

The exposure to the right side of the structure—unfortunately, when the building collapsed, it got really close to that structure and extended into that one. So, we’ve lost two structures.

TONY CAMPBELL—ASSISTANT CHIEF, WHEELING FIRE

The house on the left has fire and smoke damage. The families of these two homes got out safe. But now– what was once a beautiful home, is a total loss.

We’ll probably be here most of the day because where it collapsed, it’s down into the basement so we’ll have to make sure there’s no hot spots.

TONY CAMPBELL—ASSISTANT CHIEF, WHEELING FIRE

And I feel sorry for them. My heart goes out for them. And all of this could have been adverted 20 years ago. There are so many complaints. Nothing has been done. So, I tell you, it’s just a miserable situation.

ARTHUR GABLE—LONG-TIME RESIDENT, NEIGHBOR

Arthur Gable is 90. He says he’s lived across the street from that home for as long as he can remember. He told 7News he and others have complained about 10 St. Frazier Avenue for over 20 years—but claims the city didn’t take action soon enough.

They wouldn’t even cut the grass down. We’ve said for years, ‘that place is a fire hazard!’ And they did nothing about it here in the city.

ARTHUR GABLE—LONG-TIME RESIDENT, NEIGHBOR

So, we asked the city if anything was done.

Wheeling Community Relations Specialist Michelle Rejonis gathered information on the vacant home and says they reached out to the owner, Stephan Rodocker, on July 5th, 2018 indicating he violated the property maintenance code.

That spiraled to Sept. 10, 2018 when an exterior inspection ruled the structure to be condemned. In October of last year, the owner was summoned to court, appeared, then failed to appear at his next court hearing. That’s when the city issued a warrant for his arrest. Since then there has been 311 tickets submitted by neighbors, that landed the home on the demolition list.

Crews are still working to determine the exact cause of the fire.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family. To donate, you can click here.

Stay with 7News for updates.

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