FIRE DESTROYS PLAYGROUND SET
CAUSE RAMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATIONSheffield Township – An afternoon fire behind Vincent Elementary on North Ridge Road, just east of Route 57, left a brand new playground set destroyed.
Mike Ortiz was on his way to get a pizza when his son yelled out – “the school is on fire” – Ortiz quickly turned around. “As soon as I looked over I saw two small girls running east from the playground area and then there were two boys who looked to be teenagers running in the opposite direction. To me it appeared that they were both carrying something but with as fast as they were going I couldn’t tell what it was.”
Chief Joe Bandagski of the Sheffield Township said when his Firefighters arrived the fire was fully involved and going up over the school building. “Our guys obviously saw the huge column of smoke coming from the area, and then when they got here the fire was going up the side of the school building. The heat and fire were so intense right there that several windows on the north of the building broke out.”
Sheffield Fire called for mutual aid due to the size of the fire and the proximity to the building. Firefighters from Sheffield Village, Elyria Township, Avon, Amherst and South Amherst and the Lorain County Command and Communications truck all responded to the scene. The Lorain County Red Cross was also on scene providing rehab for the Firefighters.
Firefighters searched the interior of the school to see of any fire had gotten inside of the building. Although the building was filled with smoke, no fire damage was spotted. Firefighters also inspected the roof and found no fire or damage.
The huge black column of smoke could be seen as far south as Wellington. Local Fire Departments received calls from people believing the fire was in their jurisdiction.
Chief Bandagski said that the fire is believed to have started as a mulch fire then spread to the playground equipment. The equipment was brand new and just installed over the last couple of months.
The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Lorain County Sheriff’s Department.