UPDATE: Arrest made in devastating Hinton fires - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Arrest made in devastating Hinton fires

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HINTON (WVVA) - Police have arrested a Hinton man in connection with Tuesday morning's destructive fires.

Police Chief Derek Snavely tells WVVA News that Billy Joe Gill, 25, was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree arson in connection with one of the two fires in the town overnight.

Snavely says additional charges police believe Gill was involved in both the fires on Fifth Avenue and Temple Streets.

Police say Gill's motive at the first fire may have stemmed from an argument with the homeowner -- who is said to be a distant relative of the suspect.

No injuries were reported in the pair of fires.

The Red Cross is providing services at city hall for the dozens who are displaced by the fire.

Crews first responded to a fire in the 100 block of Fifth Avenue at 1:25 a.m. According to police they then began gathering information that the fire was a suspected arson.

Approximately 30 minutes later, crews were dispatched to a second fire in the 800 block of Temple Street in the apartments known as 'The Brick Row.'

Additional fire departments were dispatched to help. The fire spread quickly through the complex and were all a total loss.

Everyone was evacuated without injury.

An investigation at both scenes led police to believe that Billy Joe Gill, 25, of Hinton, was responsible for both incidents.

Gill was arrested a short time later and charged with first-degree arson. He is currently being held at Southern Regional Jail.

The state fire marshal's office is assisting in the investigation.

Snavely says city officials are working to provide aid for those who lost their homes as a result of the fires.

Chief Snavely released the following statement:

"Mayor Joe Blankenship and other Hinton City Officials are currently working on bringing in aid for those who tragically lost their homes today. I would like to personally commend the members of the Hinton Police Department for their hard work and efforts this morning in being able to apprehend the suspect so quickly and putting an end to the terror this subject was causing in our town. I would also like to commend the Hinton Fire Department and all Summers County Fire Departments for their joint effort in putting out these fires and evacuating all of our citizens safely. I would also like to thank Summers County EMS for their assistance this morning as well as the Summers County CERT team. I know today marks a day in history that many will never forget as we lost nearly a dozen homes, but we are so blessed that none of our citizens or first responders were injured in today's events."

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HINTON (WVVA) - Two structure fires destroyed residences in Summers County this morning.

The first fire was called in around 1:30 A.M. in the 100 block of Fifth Avenue in Hinton.  The second, called in half an hour later, was in the 800 block of Temple Street, also in Hinton.

Hinton firefighters are responding, and all Summers County Volunteer Fire Departments were called in to help control the fires.  Temple Street and Summers Street were closed.

The Brick Row apartments on Temple Street were completely destroyed by the blaze.

There's no word at this time on injuries.

WVVA will continue to keep you updated as more details become available.

 

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