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State fire marshal says no sign of criminal activity at Rocky River condo fire

Posted at 10:49 AM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-24 18:53:33-05

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — A Rocky River condo that was under construction is now a pile of rubble after it went up in flames on Sunday night, temporarily shutting down I-90 and forcing residents nearby to evacuate their homes. A day after the massive fire, firefighters turned their focus to putting out any hot spots as investigators worked to determine a cause, with the state fire marshal saying there is no sign of any criminal act with the fire.

Rocky River Fire Chief Aaron Lenart, who has been with the department for more than 20 years, said Sunday’s fire was the biggest of his career, one that caused a ballpark figure of millions of dollars in damage.

Fire departments from seven different communities responded to the fire, according to the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management.

Fire officials don’t know what caused the fire or where the fire started and are hoping cameras and surveillance videos from surrounding buildings could offer some insight.

New photos from AirTracker 5 show the aftermath of the fire. Lenart said two stairwell towers and an elevator shaft remain standing, with the rest of the wood construction completely gone.

New photos show the aftermath of a fire that broke out at a Rocky River condo on Sunday.

The fire closed Hilliard Boulevard between Wooster Road and Valley View Drive, according to the Rocky River Fire Department.

Dominion Energy was called to the scene after rescue crews reported the smell of gas. Crews said they did not find any natural gas, but they did find propane.

The State Fire Marshal will begin the investigation into the cause of the fire.

New photos show the aftermath of a fire that broke out at a Rocky River condo on Sunday.

In coming days, heavy equipment provided by the construction company will be used to knock down any structures that are not safe, according to Lenart.

Street sweepers will clean up debris. One lane of westbound traffic on Hilliard Boulevard has been reopened. Officials do not know when eastbound traffic lanes will be restored.

The ladder truck will remain in place until the investigation is complete.

The buildings to the east and west of 18613 Hilliard Boulevard were both evacuated. Residents from 18625 Hilliard Boulevard are still unable to return to home. The Red Cross has been in contact with those residents and is providing services.

Residents who have returned home should run the water until clear.

RELATED: Rocky River Fire Department responds to massive fire at condo under construction