PARMA– Fire investigators say arson is the cause of Friday’s fire at the historic Parma Theater on Ridge Road.
The entire lobby of the theater was blackened and burned in the fire.
Parma fire investigators and state fire marshals were back on the scene Monday. “They investigate every fire to see what the cause was and this one just pointed to it was intentionally set,” says Doug Turner of the Parma Fire Department.
Dorina Fodor owns the Parma Tailoring and Alterations shop next door to the historic theater. She dialed 911 when she smelled smoke coming in from the theater. “The smoke was coming through the vent in the ceiling and I realized there was a fire next door and called 911 and I tried to take out as much as I could. I grabbed dresses and threw them next to my car in the parking lot.”
The Parma tailor says she was able to save racks and racks of clothing, bridal gowns and tuxedos that she’s working on from home so they’ll be ready for weddings this weekend.
“I’m gonna work on them and as soon as I’m done I’m gonna call my customers to meet or take them to their house. I’m willing to do that. So, I’ll do my best to make everybody happy,” says Fodor.
Bob Hellriegle has been one of the owners of the Parma theater since 1973 and says he’s upset about the arson and the fact that he may be losing two of his tenants.
Some Parma residents who used to visit the theater before it closed because of poor attendance can’t believe someone would set fire to the theater. “I would come and see movies here for the last 3 or 4 years and it’s kinda a shame that it got run down and shut down but it didn’t deserved to be burned down,” says Moira McMahon of Parma.
Fire officials are offering up to a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.
Click here to read more about the Parma Theater.