July 29, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
63°F
test

Cause of Third Street fire suspicious, official says

ELYRIA – Investigators say the fire Thursday that consumed a Third Street storage barn is suspicious.

STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE
Remnants of a fire of an abandoned building at the old Riverview Mobile Home Park is put out by Elyria firefighters Thursday.

Elyria fire Marshal Bob Dempsey said the nature of the fire is raising red flags, but he`s not prepared to call it arson yet.

Inspectors from the Elyria Fire Prevention Bureau were at the site all day Friday hunting through the rubble for the cause of the blaze, Dempsey said.

But by the end of the day, Dempsey was unable to say how or exactly where the fire started.

The building was a storage facility for the former Riverview Mobile Home Park and before that was part of the old Lorain County Fairgrounds.

Firefighters were called to the riverfront blaze about 4:30 p.m. and were guided to the scene by a thick plume of smoke from the barn`s burning asphalt roof.

They had to chase down several smaller fires after wind blew flames into the grassy area around the Black River.

The building had already been marked for demolition, Elyria Assistant Fire Chief Tim Mitchell said. The property is owned by Midway West Limited and the Sommer family, according to county auditor`s records, and is the future site of the Riverbend housing development.

That project aims to entice homeowners to the downtown area by building 60 homes with $9 million in tax credits. They will be available for $406 to $610 a month.

Another 58 single-family and 40 homes for seniors at Riverbend will be sold for $169,900 to $199,000.

Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6242 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.