CHARLESTON, W.Va. -
Firefighters said a blaze that tore through a house in Charleston's East End was suspicious.
Fire crews responded just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to an apartment house at 1587 Jackson St., where neighbors said dark smoke was billowing from the two-story structure.
Capt. Ken Tyree, fire investigator, said the blaze apparently started in a back apartment on the second floor. He said there were three to five units in the house, which included an attic apartment.
At first authorities believed a meth lab had been operating in the house, but police and fire officials said they had not found evidence to confirm those suspicions.
However, Tyree said while the cause was unkown, the fire was suspicious.
"There's too many variables here," he said.
Neighbors, some of whom were taking pictures of the burning house with smartphones and others who were bringing exhausted firefighters water and Gatorade, said the house was known for drug activity.
The building was evacuated and no injuries were reported. Crews still were working the scene an hour and a half after the first call was received. The fire had moved into the attic and was burning through the roof.
Charleston City Councilman Robert Sheets came to the scene to watch and check on firefighters.
"I'm thankful the other houses near it didn't catch on fire," Sheets said, gesturing to the wood-frame houses on either side of the burning building.
The fire remains under investigation.