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Cleveland firefighters investigate three house fires started within two hours Saturday afternoon

September 8, 2018

Cleveland firefighters investigate three house fires started within two hours Saturday afternoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland fire department believes arson is responsible for two adjacent house fires that started within a half an hour of each other on Parkview Avenue, along with a third house fire on East 111th Street.

Firefighters were called to the first house fire at about 12:30 p.m. on the 12000 block of Parkview Avenue in Cleveland’s Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood, according to Cleveland Fire Department Lt. Michael Norman. 

Simona Gardner spent Friday night at her mother’s house on the block.

“I smelled burning at about 12-12:15 (p.m.),” Gardner said. At first she thought it was her 4-year-old daughter or 5-year-old nephew playing with a lighter, but then she went outside.

“I just saw thick, black smoke all over the place,” Gardner said. 

Firefighters arrived and fully extinguished the fire, Gardner said.

“They went through it with a fine-tooth comb,” she said. 

That’s why the neighborhood was surprised when the house next door caught on fire within half an hour. 

The fire department left the scene of the first fire at about 1:25 p.m., Norman said, but were right back on the block by about 1:50 p.m. 

Both homes were vacant, Norman said. The houses are sandwiched between two other vacant homes, facing an intersection with East 121st Street and another vacant apartment building on that corner. 

“They’ve been sitting here for too long,” Gardner said of the vacant properties. “Tear them down!” 

Meanwhile, other firefighters were battling another house fire in Cleveland’s St. Clair-Superior neighborhood. 

The blaze started at about 12:40 p.m. at a home on the 1200 block of East 111th Street, Norman said. Firefighters cleared the scene just after 3 p.m.

Cleveland firefighters battle 3rd house fire in last 2 hrs. E. 121/ Parkview. 1200 block E. 111. And a different house E. 121/ Parkview— CLE Firefighters-L93 (@Cleveland_FFs) September 8, 2018

Just down the block from the house fire, a health and wellness community event was giving away free school supplies to students, handing out balloons and serving cookout food. 

“Over here, you’ve got a special event for our community, we’re helping out and giving back to the kids, and down there, you’ve got a house fire,” said Jerome, one of the attendees. “It’s a shame.”

All three homes were vacant, abandoned and unsecured, Lt. Norman said. 

“They all appear to be arson,” he said.

Anyone with information about any of the fires is asked to call the Cuyahoga County Crime Stoppers at 216-252-7463.

To comment on this story, visit Saturday’s crime and courts comment section.

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