Special report: After the fire … Camden property blocks from fire site

The destroyed IEI Plastics warehouse wasn’t the only Naik property on Camden Avenue.

The section of the former Ames shovel plant destroyed in the Oct. 21 blaze was purchased in 2006 from Ames True Temper LLC for $900,000 by SurNaik Holdings of WV LLC.

A year earlier, SurNaik bought another segment of the facility at 3307 Camden Ave. from Ames for $625,000.

That property was the site of a July 2012 fire that drew more than 70 firefighters from eight area departments. Flames affected about 10 percent of the building, but there was smoke damage throughout, according to a News and Sentinel article about the incident.

Unlike the 2017 fire up the road at 3801 Camden Ave., this one was under control in about two-and-a-half hours, though firefighters remained on scene to mop up hot spots late into the night.

Then-Parkersburg Chief Fire Inspector Tim Flinn said it could have been much worse.

“It had a huge fire load. Thank goodness we got a good stop on it,” he said. “We protected those combustibles so they didn’t spread. It could have been a devastating fire.”

Afterward, Flinn contacted the West Virginia Fire Marshal’s Office, in part because the fire was outside the city limits but also out of concern that a sprinkler system malfunctioned.

Multiple structures stand today at 3307 Camden Ave., including a brick building with multi-paned windows. Through the glass — some of which is painted over, broken or clear — observers can see boxes warning not to stack more than three of them in a column.

At least one column appears to have four boxes, and a couple have fallen over.

Boxes wrapped in plastic were visible atop pallets stacked three-high when a loading dock door was open.

Across the street is 3401 Camden Ave., which was purchased, along with four other tracts in the area, for $225,735 as part of its acquisition of properties from the Gateman Group.

Four tanks, approximately 40 feet high, are surrounded by a chain link fence, which is broken in places, allowing easy access.

A neighbor said she’s seen youth on top of the tanks at night.

“Every property we own is being patrolled by a private security company,” Sunny Naik said in an email. “This involves multiple security guards who will enforce trespassing laws to the fullest extent.”

Naik did not say what, if anything, was stored in the tanks. Like some other areas of the property, the tanks are overgrown with vegetation.

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