Bird as arsonist in West Virginia:
A giant bird's nest littered with dozens of cigarette butts is leading investigators to believe that a feathery firebug may have torched a Huntington office building.
Fire Capt. David Bias said a pigeon or another kind of bird may have carried a smoldering cigarette into the Ratcliff Place on Jan. 10. Either that, or the mere volume of decomposing material in the nearly 5-foot-wide nest found in a ceiling may have combusted...
But Bias said that based on everything he's seen and heard during the preliminary investigation, the bird theory isn't for the birds.
"It's a possibility that has to be truely considered," he said.
For starters, the ceiling where the fire started was inaccessible to humans. There were no electrical lines in the area and burn patterns spread away from the nest in three directions.
"Everything points to a slow burn in the attic," Bias said.
About a half dozen businesses, including offices for an optometrist, lawyer and a magazine were displaced by the early evening fire. Three people escaped unharmed.
Reed Cook, a state fire marshal, said he has investigated other instances where a bird's nest, combined with some type of lighted material, started fires.
Thanks goodness this was only one. Imagine if there were many...
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