MARLINTON, W.Va. -- Marlinton Mayor Joe Smith expects his town to take an economic hit after a fire destroyed four downtown buildings.
The fire broke out early Sunday morning and rekindled Monday. Several businesses and 13 residents were displaced.
"This is absolutely devastating. This fire has displaced many people and, most likely, there will be a significant impact from an economic standpoint. We obviously won't be able to see the economic effects for several months, but we have lost some of our tax base," Smith said.
The cause of the fire has not been determined.
"They did some measurements on the building and got a few photographs, but I'm not sure they have even made it to where they know where the original fire began, simply because of the safety aspect of it," Smith said about investigators from the West Virginia Fire Marshal's Office. "One thing we don't need is someone to get hurt."
One building's roof and third floor caved in, and authorities decided to let the fire burn in hopes that the entire structure would collapse in on itself, Smith said.
He said streets in the area, along with a business that wasn't affected by the fire, cannot be opened until the structure is secured.