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All residents accounted for after Olmsted Falls condominium complex fire amid outpouring of support from community

September 21, 2018

All residents accounted for after Olmsted Falls condominium complex fire amid outpouring of support from community

OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio -- All of the residents from Chandlers Lane Condominiums have made contact with the property management company and are accounted for after Thursday’s massive fire at the Olmsted Falls complex, Fire Chief Chad Gluss said Friday at a press conference. 

“Multi-unit dwelling fires present very serious life safety risks due to both the size and complexity of the structure,” Olmsted Falls Mayor and Safety Director Jim Graven said at the press conference. “Thankfully, we can report that there was no loss of life and there were no serious injuries.”

The fire was contained to one building on the 32000 block of Chandlers Lane and did not spread to other buildings in the development off of Sprague Road, Graven said. 

See Previous: One resident, two firefighters hospitalized after fire ravaged Olmsted Falls condominium complex 

“The fire originated in the southeast corner of the structure on the third level on the exterior,” said Ray McCarthy with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, adding that the cause is still undetermined.

“We haven’t been able to rule out electrical, mechanical, discarded smoking materials,” McCarthy said. “There’s been no signs at all of any criminal activity.”

The fire department pulled the blueprints for the 48-unit building which indicated a two-hour rated firewall that did not extend through the roof, Chief Gluss said, adding that the firewall was likely drywall. 

“We don’t know how it was at the time of the fire, but it’s not uncommon for that firewall to have been breached by utilities, cable, phone, internet,” Gluss said.

It’s normal for workers from such companies to breach the firewall, but they’re supposed to seal it up afterward, Gluss said. 

“I’m strictly speculating that maybe that’s why it spread so fast,” Gluss said. “It may have been breached. We just don’t know. It’s completely consumed at this point, so there’s no way for us to inspect it.”

Chandler Lane Condominiums were pet-friendly. Several animals were rescued from the building, but police Chief Odis Rogers said he did not know whether there were any animals that did not make it out. 

As investigators look into the cause of the fire and establish the timeline of events, residents are staying with friends or family, gathering at the Olmsted Falls City Hall and trying to figure out their next step.

The Red Cross told cleveland.com Thursday evening that members of the organization spoke with four families who were in need of help. That number rose to eight by Friday afternoon. 

“We are going to offer direct client assistance, meaning financial assistance for their immediate needs,” Red Cross spokesman Jim 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. 

“The way this community has responded to this fire is really remarkable,” McIntyre said, echoing remarks made by Olmsted Falls officials.

“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. 

People have donated bags of toiletries and non-perishable food items, McIntyre said, and although the Red Cross doesn’t accept such donations, they have been housed at City Hall.

“So when people come for Red Cross assistance, they’re also getting bags of supplies,” McIntyre said. 

All of the families who have spoken with the Red Cross so far have said that they have insurance, he said. 

“I’m not sure how much need there’s going to be,” 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. 

Residents in need of help are encouraged to call the Red Cross at 216-431-3010. Anyone interested in volunteering can go to their website. 

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