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Crews extinguish arson fire at former Parmadale complex in Parma; building already slated for demolition

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Posted at 10:21 AM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 19:16:55-04

PARMA, Ohio — Firefighters battled an arson fire at the former Parmadale complex Monday night, according to the Parma Fire Department.

Crews responded to put out a fire that was described as "stubborn and malicious" by the department.

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Crews battle fire at former Parmadale complex Monday night.

The fire impacted a former resident dorm at the facility.

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Crews battle fire at former Parmadale complex Monday night.

There were no injuries to firefighters.

All the buildings on the campus are slated to be demolished for the West Creek Reservation sometime in the future, according to West Creek Conservancy Director Derek Schafer.

“We will make this a publicly accessible park, trail, and green space for all to enjoy,” he said. “But at this point, you have to stay out and let us do our job.”

Schafer walked News 5 around the 80-acre property, where the nonprofit has already removed 17 structures, and plans to demolish the three remaining largest ones within a month.

“The acquisition was approximately $1.75 million, Schafer explained. “Demolition has topped over $900,000 at this point and we have a little over $500,000-600,000 to complete.”

In 2020, Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter released the following statement about two fires at the abandoned complex:

“Fortunately, there were no injuries during the two fires.”

The City of Parma and West Creek Conservancy are working with County Councilman Scott Tuma and State Representative Jeff Crossman to seek sources to fund the demolition of the three remaining buildings that are an attractive nuisance. We also will be contacting our two congressional members along with our U.S. senators.

“Once the buildings are demolished, the property will be incorporated into the West Creek Reservation."

The complex also caught fire in 2019.

"Though there are no trespassing signs everywhere, we have people illegally entering the property, breaking in, breaking windows, setting fires," Schafer said. "Last night was sadly another fire this property and organization experienced. Honestly I’ve lost count of all the troublesome activities we’ve experienced. It has been kids. It has been adults."

Parmadale opened its doors in 1925 on State Road with a mission to house orphaned boys aged 6 to 16. It was among the first orphanages to move from institutional care and implement a residential plan to foster a sense of family, according to clevelandhistorical.org.

Most recently it served as a residential treatment facility to treat adolescents with behavioral health needs such as trauma, depression, chemical dependency and psychological disorders.

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