Vehicles crash into pet store, ignite inferno - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Vehicles crash into pet store, ignite inferno


A pet store lies in ruins after a fire breaks out there on Friday night.

Late Friday night, flames and smoke could be seen from miles around. At least a handful of fire departments responded to the blaze at Paradise Pets. Witnesses say that this hole here is where the car entered into the pet store. And they say, this gas main... or what's left of it... is what started the fire. Wanelle Ortiz lives just a couple of houses down from the pet store. She didn't want her face shown, but describes the scene. "It was obviously a gas main that they hit, so the fire just kept going and going. When the first sheriff's deputy arrived on the scene, he pulled out a fire extinguisher. And I told me daughter, I said 'That thing is not going to go out. It's constantly running gas.'"
A portion of Robert C. Byrd Drive was closes as crews battled the flames. Ortiz says she witnessed the helpless animals trapped inside get rescued. "I did watch them bring cages full of birds, up the street and into her house. I watched three firemen deliver something... I don't know what they were carrying... but they took those into her house. And they were in full breathing apparatus. So that tells me they were inside, getting the pets out."
On Saturday afternoon, not much was left of Paradise Pets. The ceiling... almost completely gone. The owner... too distraught to talk. But at least the pets are now safe with neighbors and customers. 

The fire started after a man driving a truck collided with another vehicle, one of which struck the gas line... igniting the inferno. The driver of the pickup then proceeded to drive off. The Raleigh County Sheriff's Department tells us they have at least one suspect in mind for questioning.

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