Blaze destroys local home

FOLLANSBEE – The cause of a fire that destroyed a home at 109 Mahan Lane Monday evening hadn’t been determined at presstime but was believed to have originated from the basement.

Clarence and Marva Virtue evacuated their two-story house after smelling smoke, and their dog was retrieved from the home by City Police Capt. Dave Parker.

Parker said he spotted the blaze while returning from an auto accident on the road and called for help.

Firefighters from Follansbee, Hooverson Heights, Wellsburg and Weirton were called to extinguish the blaze, which City Fire Chief Larry Rea said spread quickly from the house’s east side.

Howard Verner, Marva’s brother-in-law, took the couple into his business, the Owl’s Nest, nearby to get warm.

He said the house once belonged to his parents and is at least 100 years old.

Marva sold wigs from their home while Clarence, now retired, worked for many years as a teacher and principal for Edison and Brooke County schools.

A former Sunday school teacher at Follansbee Church of Christ, Clarence said while they lost their home and possessions, including several cats, they were blessed to have escaped the fire unharmed.

City Firefighter Paul DiGiacinto noted it’s not the first time the city’s volunteer fire department has been called to a blaze around New Year’s.

On Jan. 1, 1969 the department responded to a blaze that destroyed several homes at the present site of the Dalesio Manor apartment complex. That fire resulted in one fatality.