UPDATE (1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26): On Wednesday, the residents of the Regal Apartment building in downtown Charleston lost their home in a devastating fire. While officials said all of the nearly 100 residents were safely accounted for, they lost all of their belongings, and are now picking up the pieces to start over.
The Red Cross and several organizations throughout the Charleston community are working to help the residents who have been displaced. Yesterday evening, the Living Word Christian Center near the building opened its doors to residents for shelter until volunteers were able to find them a place to stay for the night.
According to the Charleston Fire Department, the investigation is still ongoing and more information will be released by CFD at a later time.
UPDATE (11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25): The Kanawha County Assessor’s website says the owners are listed as WV 2020 Holding LLC. They say it is out of Jacksonville, Florida.
The county has appraised the building at $1.2 million.
UPDATE (7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25): An excavator has been brought in and the Regal Apartments building in the 1400 block of Kanawha Blvd. E is being torn down after a fire gutted the building this afternoon.
Hodges says making this decision to start tearing down the building is very rare, but it was the best choice in this scenario to control the fire.
“So we’re over four hours into this event, and due to the construction of the building and the rapid fire spread, it immediately got into the roof line and the multiple layers of tar,” said Captain David Hodges of the Charleston Fire Department. “We were unable to gain good access to it do to some instabilities of the structure, so once all occupants were accounted for, we went to a defensive operation and erred on the side of safety for our firefighters. So we’ve made this decision, multiple hours into it, that it’s going to be easier for us to start demoing the roof line to gain control of the fire.”
The cause of the fire remains unknown at this time, but all residents are safe. The fire has also not spread to any other building on the East End.
Officials say 35 of the building’s 37 apartments were occupied, and all residents are accounted for. According to officials on scene, the Red Cross has set up to help the building’s residents at Living Word Christian Center located at 1418 Kanawha Blvd E.
“I was asleep, and woke up to the fire department banking on my door yelling ‘Get out, Get out. There’s a fire in the building,'” said resident Lynell Ellerbe.
“Nobody called me and told me the place was on fire. No manager, no maintenance, nothing,” said resident Martin Peterson. “It was a shame to come home to another fire. I had one in Dunbar two years ago, and it’s a shame I have to go through all this again.”
Peterson tells WOWK 13 News his dog was also saved from the fire.
Fire department officials say there will be an extensive investigation as to what caused the fire.
UPDATE (6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25): Crews are still on scene battling a massive fire at the Regal Apartments building in Charleston. Charleston Mayor Amy Schuler Goodwin says the building is a “total loss” and the roof is collapsing.
According to officials on scene, the Red Cross has set up to help the building’s residents at Living Word Christian Center located at 1418 Kanawha Blvd E.
“They searched every nook and cranny, but this is a really tough situation,” said Mayor Goodwin. “Obviously you can tell by the structure itself and the damage being done to the building. The roof is collapsing, its structurally unsound, so we’ve got a lot of people who are going to be out of their homes for a while.”
The Charleston Fire Department says all residents who lived in the building are accounted for, but the mayor says the building will have to come down.
“Most of them, like this entire community, are glad that they’re out and that they’re safe because this fire has obviously been devastating. The building is a total loss and it’s going to have to come down,” said Mayor Goodwin. “They’re thankful that they’re out, but they’re scared.”
UPDATE (4:22 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25): The Charleston Fire Department says that all residents from the apartment building have been accounted for, and no firefighters have been injured.
They say that they are running a defensive attack currently, and they’re dealing with a partial roof collapse.
No injuries were reported.
13 News will continue to update this story.
UPDATE (3:47 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25): Kanawha County 911 says that Kanawha Blvd. is closed between Ruffner Ave. and Bradford St. due to this fire.
CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—Crews are responding to a fire at an apartment building in Charleston.
Smoke can be seen coming from the top floor of the Regal Apartment building on the 1400 block of Kanawha Blvd.
Kanawha County 911 says that this is a working fire.
There is no word yet on any injuries or the extent of any damage.
13 News has a crew on the scene, and we will provide updates as new information becomes available.