Fernway Elementary School fire started during roof work, ruled accidental

(Photo courtesy: Shaker Heights Fire Department)

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio–  The Shaker Heights Fire Department concluded its investigation into the cause of an elementary school fire over the summer.

Fernway Elementary School caught on fire on July 10. No one was injured, but the damage was extensive. Students were assigned to other buildings in the Shaker Heights City School District for the start of the year.

Fire officials ruled the blaze accidental. It started in the middle flat roof, where contractors were doing “hot work.”

“Either a worker using a torch in which direct flame contact from the torch ignited the wood, or a product failure with the tools and/or materials being used ignited the wood,” started the fire, according to the department’s report.

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There was a smaller fire on the roof in a different location just one day earlier. Investigators determined they were not related.

The city of Shaker Heights is still reviewing whether there are grounds for legal action. It is also checking into “hot work” methods used by roofing contractors in the city.

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