Critical safety question you should ask before renting or buying in a complex

WARRENSVILLE, OH (WOIO) - A fire at the Miles Landing apartments in Warrensville Heights dramatically drew home a question that if answered could keep
your family safe.

It is a simple question. Is the building constructed with attic fire walls?

The units destroyed by flames in Warrensville Heights were not.

Most building codes require attic or crawl space fire walls.  But only in new construction.  The units at Miles Landing are older and therefore were grandfathered.

Fire Chief Herb Waugh says it created a huge problem for his firefighters as flames moved unit to unit in the attic space and was unseen to his forces

"Once we opened up the ceiling on top we could actually see the fire roaring through."

There have been other examples of the heartbreak the lack of fire walls created. In 2002, Fairway Manor in Lorain burned to the ground as people living there could only sit and watch.  A fire in one unit took down the whole place.

In contrast, a serious gas fueled fire at Acacia Place in Lyndhurst caused extensive damage top to bottom, but fire walls above prevented side to side movement of the fire.

Chief Waugh says having no fire walls leaves firefighters virtually blind.

"Once it got up in there we couldn't actually tell where the fire had spread cause it actually, flames weren't coming outta the building."


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