Special report: After the fire… Former steel plant site near homes and Greenmont school

VIENNA — Just outside the city limits of Vienna, across the street from the city’s utility board office and less than the length of a football field from the playground at Greenmont Elementary School, sits a group of buildings purchased in 2011 by the Naik companies.

An apparent office building on the property has multiple broken windows and some that are open. Vines are growing on some of the structures, which are surrounded by a chain link fence with a locked gate. However, one section of the fence has been replaced by plastic, orange snow fencing that is mostly trampled down in the tall grass.

The property was purchased by the Naik group for $275,000 from Continental Chemical Co., part of the Gateman Group. Before Continental, the property belonged to the Keene Corp., which acquired the site in 1967 from Penn Metal Co. Inc. The property is a source of concern for Vienna Fire Chief Steve Scholl.

“It’s in our fire district, but it’s not in our city limits,” he said.

That means Vienna would be the first department to respond to a fire at the building, but has no authority to inspect the building itself.

“We’ve been there before on alarm calls, and it is stacked with cartons and crates of what appear to be plastic pellets, and we just want to make sure it is properly stored, the sprinkler system is properly working, and they have whatever permits are needed to store that,” Scholl said in an earlier interview. The Vienna chief asked the West Virginia Fire Marshal’s Office to inspect the property. He said he understands it is on the list of the recent inspections and he expects to receive information about the findings once the reports are completed.