PIEDMONT - Another vacant home in the Mineral-Allegany county area was destroyed by fire Monday, bringing the total of vacant properties that have burned to six in a little over a month.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
PIEDMONT - Another vacant home in the Mineral-Allegany county area was destroyed by fire Monday, bringing the total of vacant properties that have burned to six in a little over a month.
The latest structure, a three-floor East Hampshire Street home owned by Fred Price, was demolished early Monday by the blaze, which also heavily damaged a vacant building next door.
The call for that fire came in at 2:29 a.m. Monday, following the pattern of the previous fires.
The early-morning fire once again brought investigators from the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office to the area, who said the origin of the fire was “incendiary.”
“Somebody set it,” investigator George Harms confirmed.
That makes three Mineral County structure fires which have been deemed “incendiary” - two on East Hampshire Street in Piedmont and the one on Beacon Street.
Harms and fellow investigator Joe Vacchio were also called in to investigate a fire which destroyed a double-wide home in Fort Ashby on Sunday.
“We don’t know if it’s connected as yet, but it’s got similarities,” Vacchio said of the Fort Ashby blaze.
The fire investigators are currently working with area law enforcement to investigate the series of incidents, and have also reached out to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office, which declared an earlier fire that destroyed a vacant home in McCoole as arson.
“We’re following every lead that’s presented to us,” Vacchio said, noting that posters offering a reward for information have been placed at the sites of the fires.
Anyone with any information about any of the fires is asked to call the West Virginia Arson Hotline at 1-800-233-FIRE.
Harms, who has been fire investigator for this region for some time, said the recent series of fires has been unusual.
“I’ve had fires here and there, but nothing like this last rash of fires,” he said.