Liz McCormick Published

W.Va. Education Officials And State Fire Marshal To Provide Updates On Devastating Fire At W.Va. Schools For The Deaf And The Blind

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This is a developing story and will be updated.

Updated on Feb. 28, 2022 at 9:50 a.m.

The West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch along with investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s office are expected to provide an update on the fire at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind Monday morning at 10:30 a.m.

The press briefing will be streamed on the WVDE Facebook page.

In the latest press release from Romney Fire Company, fire department operations creased around 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, and US Route 50 is now open in both directions.

Investigators have remained on the scene and continue their work.

Gov. Jim Justice issued a statement on Twitter Saturday, “This is absolutely heartbreaking news for the Romney community and all the staff, students, and alumni that are part of this great institution. Please join me in praying for the safety of all the first responders who are fighting this fire.”

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Romney Fire Company
The administrative building of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind in Romney, W.Va. caught fire early Saturday morning. The West Virginia Department of Education said the building is a total loss.

Updated on Feb. 26, 2022 at 11 a.m.

The West Virginia Department of Education said that all students and staff at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind are safe after a fire broke out early Saturday morning on campus.

No students were on campus at the time of the fire. The WVDE said students were transported to their homes for the weekend.

“It is important that no students were on campus during this traumatic event,” State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch said in a press release. “Nonetheless, this is a major loss and students will have many questions when they return. We will provide the necessary supports for both students and staff, and we will work closely with state officials that are investigating.”

“We are shocked and saddened by the loss of this iconic building but are grateful no one was hurt and there were no additional losses,” State Board of Education President Miller Hall said. “Fire and emergency crews arrived immediately, and the Department of Education, Board of Education and the WVSDB sincerely appreciate their swift response.”

The WVDE said the building is a total loss.

Original Post:

There is a working fire at the administrative building of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind at 301 East Main Street, Romney.

Lt. 1-A Bryan Beverage with the Romney Fire Company said the initial alert of the fire came in around 6:12 a.m. Saturday morning and work to contain the situation is ongoing as of 10 a.m. Officials are reporting US Route 50 is shut down.

Several volunteer fire companies are on the scene, including Romney, Augusta, Springfield, Slanesville, New Creek, Fort Ashby, Burlington and Ridgeley.

There is also additional support from fire companies in Allegheny County, Maryland and Frederick County, Virginia, which are filling in for local assignments at the West Virginia stations while firefighters work to contain the fire.

Romney Fire Company’s Chief G.T. Parsons said the situation is “under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office, and units will be there for an extended amount of time.”

“Today is a sad day for our beloved community,” the Romney Fire Company wrote on its Facebook page. “The WVSDB has been an anchor of our small town for over a century. The last fire that destroyed a building on campus was on September 12, 1971 … The school and campus date back prior to 1850.”

Additional information will be released on Romney Fire Company’s Facebook page.

Eastern Panhandle Working Fires, which is a Facebook page that provides information and updates on working fires and other incidents in Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, Grant and Pendleton counties, posted photos of the incident early Saturday morning.

The post has been shared more than 5,000 times.