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Resident describes smoky save by firefighter - no resident injuries reported

Jul. 27, 2014 @ 12:04 PM

HUNTINGTON  —  A resident of the Morris Building for the past year and a half, Eric Adkins loved the priceless views of the historic Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center and the convenience of living downtown.

 Sunday morning, Adkins, who often explored the building and knew all of its fire escapes, was grateful for the swift response of the Huntington Fire Department.

 Adkins was awakened in his underwear by what he thought was his dad knocking on his door. about 9 a.m. Sunday.

 “Somebody was banging on the door, I thought it was my dad, but when I opened the door it was a firefighter with an axe saying we had to get out of there, I grabbed some stuff to put on and went down the stairwell, and it was all filled with smoke. There was so much smoke in the entrance, you couldn’t see out of the building.”

Adkins, and Cabell County EMS director Gordon Merry said they believe all residents — about 10 people — got out of the six-floor building that housed apartments in the upper floors, Developmental Therapy on the third, and on the second and first floors, the new restaurant, The Peddler, and on the first floor Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar.

Both of those restaurants are owned by Drew Hetzer.

 Oliver Bailey, manager at Backyard, said they had a crew in prepping for Backyard’s popular Sunday brunch, when someone ran in and said their building’s roof, six floors above, was on fire.

 Bailey said the workers ran out and saw the fire, ran back in pulled the fire alarm, shut down all the appliances and ran out of the building.

Hetzer’s mom, Kathleen Hanlon Litton, saw the fire as she was coming to church at Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church, a block away at 10th Street and 5th Avenue.

“I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s Drew’s building,' ” Litton said. ... “I’m just glad no one was hurt. Drew has insurance, but we are just thankful no one was hurt.”
Huntington Fire Department had its complete crew on the scene, and were receiving assistance as of noon from area volunteer departments such as Green Valley, Barboursville, Ceredo, Ohio River Road, as well as assistance from Huntington Police Department and Cabell County EMS.

Shortly before noon, a Huntington firefighter hurt his knee while fighting the fire from the roof of The Renaissance Building, adjacent to the Morris Building.

At noon, HFD was reporting that the fire was smoking in a few spots but that most of the fire is under control.

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