The above scene greeted first responders to Devonshire on early Sunday morning.
The blaze at Devonshire Apartments in Scott Depot on early Sunday morning, July 9, was a perfect never-should-happen event that happened.
Investigators from the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office believe a lightning strike hit the building, knocked out the fire alarm system, and started a fire in an attic area distant from any smoke detectors. Residents were not aware of the blaze until the attic of the three-story building had become fully engaged, a time well after the lightning bolt hit. Most residents were awakened shortly after 3 a.m. and made aware of the inferno by a fellow resident pounding on their doors.
The fire displaced 27 people. Some are being temporarily being housed at the Wingate hotel in Hurricane.
The lightning strike knocked out the fire alarm systems to six of the surrounding buildings at Devonshire. Investigators said the building appears to have been in compliance with code requirements.