MADISON, W.Va. (AP) - Two fires broke out Tuesday morning in
Madison, destroying an emergency services trailer and causing minor
damage to a funeral home. Both blazes are being investigated as
arsons.
A third fire that erupted Monday night at a mobile home in west
Madison was accidental, said Gary Turley, chief of the Madison
Volunteer Fire Department.
"It was electrical in nature," he said.
No injuries were reported in any of the fires.
Damage estimates were not available but the Boone County
Emergency Services mobile command post, which was housed in a
travel trailer, was a total loss, Turley said.
The trailer, which was owned by the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, was sitting on a county-owned parking lot when it caught
fire at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Mark Lambert, assistant state
fire marshal.
The fire's heat blistered the paint on a Boone County Sheriff's
Department cruiser parked beside the trailer.
Turley said the trailer had no electricity or gas, leading
authorities to believe the fire was deliberately set.
"The trailer was just sitting out in a parking lot by itself
with a couple cars beside it," he said. "There was really just
nothing there to cause it to catch fire by itself. There was no
source there."
A second fire erupted at Stevens Funeral Home at about 4:30 a.m.
Two outside wooden steps were damaged, funeral director Tom Stevens
Jr. said.
Flammable liquids were found at the scene, Turley said.
"Someone had taken a riding lawnmower and had pushed it toward
the steps," he said.
A neighbor spotted the fire as he was leaving for work and
notified authorities, said Ralph Caudill, a funeral home employee.
"It could have been dangerous because the owner lives above the
funeral home," Lambert said.
The state Division of Forestry brought in at least one
bloodhound to aid in the investigation. Federal Alcohol, Tobacco
and Firearms agents also were at the scene.
Investigators have not determined if the trailer and funeral
home fires are related.
"We have to treat them as separate fires until we learn
something that tells us otherwise," Lambert said. "You have so
many fires in such a small town in one night, it's unusual."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press