BRIDGEPORT -- Fire of undetermined origin Saturday leveled a barn-like structure used for storage by an area painting contractor, according to an officer of the Bridgeport Fire Department.
Firefighters from Bridgeport, Anmoore, Shinnston, Boothsville and Pleasant Valley responded to the 12:43 p.m. alarm, according to Harrison County 911 Center personnel.
The Joseph Oliverio painting building that burned was located along W.Va. 73, a short distance north of the I-79 Speedway, said Bridgeport fire Capt. Ron Wilson.
The wooden building was fully involved in flames upon arrival of the first units to the scene, Wilson said.
"The walls were still barely standing when we got there," Wilson added, "but there was nothing left when we finally departed the scene."
Flames were shooting out from around the windows and the eaves, the captain said. The firefighters pushed in the remaining walls to make the perimeter free from any danger.
In addition to the building, an old transportation diesel bus that was converted into an RV bus was destroyed in the fire, according to Wilson.
Also damaged was some siding on a neighbor's house about 50-70 feet away that buckled from the heat, Wilson said.
"For now, we don't know whether there will be an investigation into the cause of the fire forthcoming," said the captain.
Owner Joseph Oliverio, who lives nearby, said he had no doubt there was about $750,000 in damage to the structure and contents, but added he didn't have it insured for nearly that much. The two-story barn had been built on a rock quarry, Oliverio said.
In addition to most of his painting equipment, there was also a new riding mower and a new Roto-tiller he was storing inside.
He praised his neighbor, Chuck Corbin, who helped move Oliverio's vans further away from the flames. Oliverio had just built an addition that he valued at about $40,000 to the burned structure eight months ago.
Oliverio seemed philosophical about his loss.
"We might be a little late for work Monday morning," he said, "but, by golly, we'll be going to work. I guess we just have to be like the Phoenix and rise from the ashes, and right now, that's all there is."
There were no injuries to firefighters battling the blaze, Wilson said.
Editor Bob Stealey can be reached by phone at (304) 626-1438, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.