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Slavic Village's unexplained explosions light-up night sky, unnerve residents

Posted at 10:49 PM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-15 10:13:17-04

CLEVELAND — They're back. Unexplained flashes of light and explosions have returned to Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood.

It's a problem that has unnerved residents in the area of Fleet Avenue, East 49th Street and Dalton Avenue, and East 55th Street and Mound Avenue, for more than a year.

Residents have captured the flashes of light and the explosions on their outdoor home security systems, and said they have reported the ongoing phenomenon to the City of Cleveland with no results.

Homeowners like Odetta Fields told News 5 they are fed up and want some answers.

“Usually it’s in the middle of the night, 2 to 3 o’clock in the morning, you’ll hear a loud boom, and it literally will shake our house,” Fields said. “Why are we hearing these booms? Why our houses are shaking? Why things are falling off of our shelves?”

Mary Hess said the mysterious explosions are so unsettling one of her neighbors wants to move out unless a solution is found soon.

“In the middle of the night it wakes you up, or you could be watching TV and it’s a boom, boom, boom,“ Hess said.

Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli told News 5 he will conduct a full investigation to try and find the source of the explosions.

Residents told News 5 they were concerned the explosions were coming from the ArcelorMittal Steel Plant, which confirmed it uses dynamite to clean parts of its blast furnaces.

However, the company issued a statement and said it doesn't believe it's the source of the overnight explosions:

"While ArcelorMittal Cleveland does use an external vendor to break up material build-up in its blast furnaces through the use of dynamite, this infrequent and permitted process is performed on an as-needed basis and only during daylight hours. We have not used explosives in recent weeks. We don’t have enough information to determine whether the noises are coming from our operations or from one of the many companies who call the Industrial Valley home. We take concerns from our neighbors seriously and encourage them to contact us directly with as much information as possible via our community inquiry hotline, 216-429-7300, or by emailing us at"