UPDATE: Multi-structure fire on Core Road ruled arson; suspect arrested

WTAP News @ 10
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 6:47 PM EDT
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WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. (WTAP) - A Parkersburg man was arrested following an investigation into a multi-structure fire that occurred at 5:45 p.m. on Monday, August 1, on the 1500 block of Core Road.

According to a news release from the Wood County Sheriff’s Office, Ryan Phillip Merluzzi, 28, of Parkersburg, is charged with first-degree arson, entry of a building other than a dwelling, grand larceny, and destruction of property.

A fire started at one home and spread to another. The second home was occupied at the time by the homeowners and their pets. No injuries were reported.

Merluzzi allegedly fled the scene of the fire before law enforcement arrived and was not located.

Later that day, officials responded to a business in Parkersburg on the 3000 block of 7th Street about a motor vehicle crash involving a dump truck and another vehicle. The dump truck involved had been stolen from United Construction Company in Parkersburg.

Officials determined that Merluzzi was also the suspect in the stolen dump truck. He fled the scene of the crash before law enforcement arrived.

After further investigation, it was revealed that Merluzzi had entered United Construction Company after hours, took control of a piece of machinery, and intentionally destroyed a parked vehicle that is privately owned and parked on the grounds of the business.

Merluzzi also entered and operated a dump truck parked on the grounds. He allegedly used the dump truck to break through a locked gate and left the business grounds.

The Wood County Sheriff’s Office cooperated with the Wood County Fire Investigation Team, the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Parkersburg Police Department.

Merluzzi is currently being held at the Hancock County Jail in Indiana, pending extradition to West Virginia.

UPDATE 8/1/2022 7:27 P.M.

Two trailer homes are a total loss after they caught on fire at the intersection of School Street and Core Road in Wood County.

According to East Wood Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ron Utt, the call came in around 5:45 p.m. No injuries were reported.

The two trailers were side-by-side with each other. The trailer in the front caught fire first before spreading to the second trailer.

The Waverly and Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the scene along with the Wood County Sheriff’s Department and St. Joe’s Ambulance service.

A trailer home on School Road in Wood County is a total loss. The call came in around 5:45 p.m. on Monday.

WTAP has a reporter there right now, and we will bring you more details.

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