PARMA, Ohio — Residents in more than a dozen apartment units were displaced by a fire in the Meadows Patio apartments in Parma early Saturday morning. One resident was treated at a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation and later released.
911 callers initially reported a fire in a second floor apartment around 3 a.m. Saturday morning.
One caller told the operator, "They said a candle caught something.”
Others called in to report they couldn't exit the building from the top floor of the 3-floor apartment building.
“We can’t evacuate the building," one resident said. "We’re on the top floor and there’s too much smoke in the hallway.”
Parma Fire Department crews responded to the Meadows Patio apartment complex on Chevrolet Boulevard at around 3:15 a.m. Saturday for what was classified as a “high hazard” fire due to the occupancy load of the building, according to a news release from the department.
“The heat and smoke was so intense, that even they couldn't get in there to affect any rescues of anyone,” explained T.J. Martin, the communications coordinator for the Parma Fire Department. "The initial commander and the chief called for mutual aid almost immediately because we knew we’d need help affecting the rescues and we needed an additional aerial apparatus.”
A second alarm was transmitted, requesting an additional engine and mutual aid ladder companies. The fire response was then elevated to “multiple alarm fire.” Martin said more than a dozen residents needed to be rescued from their balconies while crews began an “aggressive interior attack.” He explained staying put was the best option for many people in the building at the time.
“If you can’t effectively rescue yourself from the building, close your door. Shelter in place, make sure your door is closed and let us know that you’re there,” he said.
One occupant, who was rescued from a third-floor apartment, was taken to a nearby hospital where the person was treated for smoke inhalation as a precaution and released.
Parma fire officials told News 5 residents in 16 units were displaced by the fire. The American Red Cross is providing them with comfort, assistance and shelter, the news release states.
“We do everything in our power to ensure that preventing the loss of life is the priority" Martin said. "Property comes secondary to that. Property can be replaced, a life cannot.”
Investigators on scene Saturday morning believe the fire was started accidentally and is not related to other fires in the city recently.
Later in the morning, apartment maintenance began boarding up the windows in the second floor apartment where the fire broke out. They are still evaluating the building to see how extensive the fire damage was to the other units, but said it appeared that most of the damage was contained to the unit where the fire began.
Parma fire crews were assisted by units from the Brookpark, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, Middleburg Heights and Seven Hills fire departments.
The American Red Cross said it provided assistance to 24 residents from nine apartments, and are reaching out to two additional residents from a 10th apartment.
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