Fernway Fire Investigation Report
Last month, I reported that the City was investigating the cause of the fire at Fernway Elementary School and that we would share the results of that investigation with the Schools and the community.
This investigation has now been completed.
The Origin and Cause Fire Investigation Report
has been provided to the Shaker Schools.
It is the responsibility of the Shaker Heights Fire Chief to report to the State Fire Marshall’s Office on the cause of any fire which occurs in the city. The investigation, conducted by Shaker’s Fire Investigation Unit, or FIU, was performed according to guidelines established by the National Fire Protection Association, which writes standards for the safety industry. These standards require that the cause of a fire be designated in one of four categories. These categories are accidental, natural, incendiary, or undetermined.
Regarding the point of origin of the Fernway School fire, the FIU concluded that the “first material ignited was the wood board that separated the roof from the masonry wall.” This area was located above the middle flat roof where roofing contractors had been using torches in the application of asphalt roofing materials. The FIU further concluded that the ignition source was “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.” The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental.
As with any significant fire, we now turn our focus to evaluating next steps. Next steps will include determining whether there are grounds for any legal action by the City. Further, we will undertake a careful review of existing ordinances, policies and procedures to determine if regulatory changes or modifications are necessary or appropriate. In this case, that review will include an evaluation of “hot work” methods used by roofing contractors in our City. In this context, hot work refers to the use of a torch or other heating source to apply roofing materials.
In the meantime, the evaluation, repairs and restoration at Fernway continue and we look forward to working with the Schools as progress on Fernway proceeds.
Van Aken District Update
The Van Aken District is starting to bustle. Mitchell’s Ice Cream opens soon, followed by Eddy’s Barbershop, Double Rainbow, Bonobos, See Eyewear and Andrews Colour Atelier. Residents continue to move into Upstairs at Van Aken apartments. Suburban Pediatrics is open and several of the other office tenants are already settled into their new spaces. Additional businesses and retailers will continue to open throughout the fall.
Planned events and opportunities to gather are in full swing. I was pleased to see so many of you at the first Sunset Market last Thursday. These markets, presented by the North Union Farmers Market, will continue through October 25 from 4-7 pm. On Sunday, September 16 and October 21, I hope you will join me at the East Side Flea presented by the Cleveland Flea. The Flea is open from 10 am – 4 pm.
At block parties, I’ve heard a lot of questions about where to park in the District. Here are your options:
- Parking Garage: There are plenty of spaces in the garage and parking is free. The garage can be accessed from Warrensville Center Rd. or from the new Tuttle Rd. off Farnsleigh Rd.
- Surface lot: Once retail shops open, additional parking will be available in this lot located between Tuttle Rd. and Warrensville Center Rd. (accessible from Tuttle Rd. only).
- On-street parking: Look for spots on Warrensville Center and Farnsleigh roads. When the construction is complete, there will be additional on-street parking on the new Walker, Tuttle and Meade roads within the District.
- Parking for RTA riders: There is designated parking in the large lot on Farnsleigh Rd. across from the Farnsleigh Rapid stop. In addition, there is parking on the lower level of the Shaker Plaza parking lot and the newly paved parking along Van Aken Blvd. near the Rapid stop will be open by the end of the month.
I look forward to seeing you in the parks and neighborhood enjoying this beautiful fall season and in the Van Aken District. I have a passion for sweets so I’m sure I’ll run into you at Mitchell’s soon!