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Barberton man pleads guilty in Firestone Mansion arson in Fairlawn

August 30, 2018

Barberton man pleads guilty in Firestone Mansion arson in Fairlawn

FAIRLAWN, Ohio — A Barberton man pleaded guilty to setting fire to the historic Cornus Hill Firestone Mansion earlier this year. 

Donavin Gowin, 19, pleaded guilty Thursday to arson before Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Jill Lanzinger. Gowin is scheduled to appear at a sentencing hearing Nov. 13.

Gowin surrendered at the Fairlawn Police Department after officials offered a $5,000 reward to anyone with information leading to an arrest in the case.

Fairlawn firefighters were called about 9 p.m. Jan. 13 to find part of the mansion in the 2500 block of Chamberlain Road engulfed in flames. 

The department spent12 hours fighting the blaze and putting out hot spots, Fairlawn Fire Chief Russell Hose said. 

A portion of the roof and floor collapsed due to the fire, he said.

No injuries were reported, he said. 

The two-story home sits at the top of a hill in a secluded part of Summit County. It has been boarded up and vacant for years. No utilities were hooked up to the home, Hose said. 

At nearly 11,000 square feet, the mansion was built in 1935 for Russell Firestone, son of Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. founder Harvey Firestone, the Akron Beacon Journal reported. The home had 31 rooms and was surrounded by plush gardens and terraces on about 11 acres of land in the 1930s, the newspaper reported. 

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