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Authorities say seventh fire at area junkyard suspicious

Investigations are under way after another fire at a Clendenin area junkyard caused more than $100,000 in damages.

Clendenin Fire Chief Kevin Clendenin said Saturday evening's fire at Paul Rucker's salvage yard was the seventh since June.

Saturday's fire was widespread, claiming several vehicles, some of which were roadworthy, as well as a box trailer, camping trailers, heavy machinery, a large number of tires, a 1,000-gallon propane tank and other items.

Clendenin estimated the damage at more than $100,000 but said the condition of items before the fire could affect the figure.

He said the fire appeared suspicious. Authorities with the state Fire Marshal's Office, Department of Environmental Protection and the State Police are investigating.

"As far as the cause or origin, we have no idea," Clendenin said. "It's always so widespread by the time we get there. Nobody saw anything. You try to talk to witnesses, but there's always different stories as to why nobody sees anything."

Clendenin said investigators spoke to witnesses Saturday and Sunday but he hadn't checked on the investigation Monday.

State Police Sgt. M.L. Simpson said to his knowledge troopers were only assisting with the investigation. He didn't know where the investigation stood Monday.

A message left for a DEP representative was not immediately returned, nor was a message left with the state Fire Marshal's Office.

Saturday's fire was the second largest at the junkyard, Clendenin said. The first fire in June was the largest, he said.

He said his main concern was responder safety, but he also was concerned about fighting fires at the salvage yard. He said hose runoff mixing with potentially hazardous materials could contaminate the water and increased smoke could pollute the air.

The Pinch and Frame volunteer fire departments also responded.

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at or 304-348-4850.



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