AVON LAKE, Ohio (WJW) — Firefighters from nine west side fire departments responded to a fast moving fire on Saturday morning at a condominium complex in Avon Lake.
It was just after 8:40 a.m., when witnesses reported that flames had engulfed a parking garage and one of the units at the Smugglers Cove Condominiums on Electric Boulevard.
Barb Amantea lives across the street from the complex and told FOX 8, “I was upstairs and it sounded like I heard glass breaking, so I came down and looked across the street and it was just complete fire, fire and smoke.”
Avon Lake firefighters rushed to the scene and as the fire was quickly spreading, units from surrounding communities responded as well. Their work was complicated by a series of mini explosions in the garage.
Smugglers Cove resident Sandy Rimar told FOX 8, “Things were going off, like gunshots, kept going off, going off, going off, and then blowing up and more fire would go up.”
Investigators say helping fuel the fire was the gasoline in cars and a motorcycle in the garage, along with propane tanks that were being stored in the garage. As the fire spread, the number one concern was making sure that no one was trapped in the building’s 12 units.
“I was praying for them, I thought ‘oh my God, nobody better be in there,’ they all got out, I mean, it just happened so fast, I couldn’t believe it, all of the sudden flames were all over the place,” Rimar said.
As investigators search for the cause of the blaze, residents report one of the condominium owners was using a grill in the garage late Friday or early Saturday.
“That’s not good, you don’t cook in your garage,” said Rimar.
No injuries were reported among the residents who were evacuated or the firefighters who battled the blaze.
One of the condos was completely destroyed by the fire and a number of others had varying degrees of fire, smoke and water damage.
Barb Amantea told us, “it seemed a little panicky over there, people were saying ‘oh my gosh, I can’t believe this, I lost everything.’ They were just sick about it, but I consoled one lady that was sitting on the front lawn, she was worried about losing everything. I said ‘but you got out safe, that’s the important thing, your life, things can be replaced.’”
The Red Cross has offered assistance for those displaced by the fire, but we are told most of the residents are now staying with family and friends.