CLIFTON, W.Va. — A huge fire in the Clifton area Tuesday evening destroyed a business, and closed both Rt. 62 and the nearby railroad tracks for hours.
The building was known by local residents as the old coal tipple, but more recently served as a trucking business. Owned by Bill Zuspan and Sarah Stover, both of Mason, the building was rented by Ed Carson, of Mason, and Ted Dexter, of the Athens, Ohio, area.
The fire call came in at 6:34 p.m., according to Mason firefighter George Ray VanMatre. In all, 53 firefighters from five different departments battled the blaze, which was fully engulfed when the first department arrived. On hand were the Mason, New Haven, and Point Pleasant departments, as well as Station 10 from Middleport, Ohio, and Station 1 from Pomeroy, Ohio.
VanMatre said water hoses were stretched across Rt. 62 and the railroad tracks from the nearest fire hydrant. Both the road and tracks were closed for approximately four hours. Firemen returned to their respective stations around 11:30 p.m.
Carson was on the scene Wednesday morning to assess the damage. Carson said he and Dexter used the building to service their large trucks and semis.
He stated the fire began when a mechanic was working on a truck. The truck leaked oil onto the floor of the building and the man drove the truck out in order to clean the spill.
Carson added that the oil spread and ignited when it reached a trouble light the man had been using. The mechanic used a fire extinguisher, but could not get the fire out.
Carson said the building contained bulk oil and a lot of tires that made it “go up like a book of matches.” He added because the bulk oil leaked outside during the blaze, an environmental business was called in to clean up the dirt that was affected by the oil.
Carson credited the firefighters with saving a tractor-trailer that was parked near the building. VanMatre said the firefighters kept water on the truck the entire time they were battling the blaze.
Very little of the building’s contents were salvaged Wednesday, according to Carson. He said the building contained mostly equipment such as air compressors, jacks and air tools, plus one older pickup truck that was also destroyed.
There were no injuries resulting from the fire.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and lives in Mason County.