2 Ohio firefighters hurt battling condo blaze
The firefighters were transported to the hospital after battling a fire that broke out at Chandlers Lane Condominiums
By Robin Goist
Advance Ohio Media
OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio — A fire broke out Thursday morning at the Chandlers Lane Condominiums, injuring one resident and two firefighters, Olmsted Falls Mayor James Patrick Graven said.
A resident of the sprawling complex called 911 around 10:30 a.m. to report that her condo was on fire, Graven said at a Thursday afternoon press conference. She hung up and ran out of the unit.
Olmsted Falls police arrived around 10:40 a.m. and reported heavy fire coming from the third floor, Graven said.
Firefighters conducted a primary search and declared an "all clear" on the building, Graven said, adding that firefighters performed a second sweep as they continued to battle the blaze.
All crews were ordered to evacuate the building around 11:20 a.m.
Crews from the nearby communities of Olmsted Township, Brook Park, North Olmsted, North Ridgeville, Rocky River, Westlake, Brooklyn, Fairview Park, Strongsville, Berea, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Brunswick aided in Thursday's effort, according to Graven.
An update on the massive fire at the Chandlers Lane Condominiums in Olmsted Falls.Posted by Fox 8 News on Thursday, September 20, 2018
"Berea police did a great job; I want to thank them," Graven said. "They handled our city for a while when our units were at the fire."
Graven also said he made calls to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the State Fire Marshall, Red Cross, Olmsted Community Emergency Response Team and Southwest General Medical Center, who sent three nurses to City Hall for the victims.
Olmsted Falls police took a woman who lived in one of the units to Southwest General Medical Center for treatment of injuries she suffered in the fire, Graven said. The extent of her injuries is not known.
Two firefighters were also hurt and brought to University Hospitals St. John Medical Center in Westlake, Graven said.
The three-story wood-framed building is comprised of 48 units. Workers cut off natural gas service to the compound around 2 p.m., Graven said.
Olmsted Falls City Hall established a relief center for victims and residents to get water, food and shelter on Thursday, which was a hot, sunny day interrupted by a burst of afternoon rain.
Chandlers Lane Condominiums are pet-friendly and many of the residents have pets, said Luis Castro who lives with his wife on the second floor.
The couple, wearing only the clothes they had on when they evacuated, attended the press conference in hopes of learning when they could retrieve their belongings, to no avail.
A room in City Hall housed several dogs that were rescued.
The Castro family has been planning Luis' 70th birthday party which is in two weeks, so their condo was filled with irreplaceable items, like family photos and memorabilia.
"Just material items," Luis said, thankful that no one in his family was hurt, including his 2-year-old granddaughter who was visiting.
"There has been an outpouring of support from our entire community and I want to thank all of my fellow citizens in Olmsted Falls, and also thank all of the people who live in our surrounding communities," Graven said.
"If anyone wants to help out, please call the Red Cross," he said.
Jim McIntyre, regional communications officer for the American Red Cross, told cleveland.com Thursday evening that they have spoken with four families who are in need of help - but they expect that number to rise.
"We are going to offer direct client assistance, meaning financial assistance for their immediate needs," McIntyre said.
Those families will also receive a comfort kit which includes toiletries and other supplies, and the Red Cross will follow up with them in the coming weeks and months to make sure they're connected to housing resources, he said.
"Tomorrow we are anticipating hearing from many more residents, and will assess their needs, and offer them the same services," McIntyre said.
Despite the dozens of families displaced by the fire, the Red Cross said there was no immediate need to set up shelters.
"We haven't had any requests for lodging assistance so the majority of the people, we're assuming, have family or friends, or have insurance that will give them the funds to stay in a hotel," McIntyre said.
The fire is currently under investigation.