Neighbor Charged With Setting Apartment Fire - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Neighbor Charged With Setting Apartment Fire

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – A man has been officially charged with starting a fire at a local apartment complex. Police said that the suspect intentionally set the blaze after a domestic dispute, Action News reported.

Nearly 100 people were forced out of their homes after part of Beachcliff Place Apartments on Lake Avenue in Rocky River went up in flames on Monday. One entire building of the complex was destroyed, if not by fire than by smoke and water.

A neighbor, Jeffrey Fulk, is accused of starting the fire. He appeared in court on Monday night and teared up several times.

He is still in jail because the judge set his bond at $1 million.

Fulk was reportedly fighting with his girlfriend when he left the complex and returned a short time before the fire broke out.

Many tenants escaped with nothing more than their lives, but no one was seriously injured.

"I looked out my bedroom window and saw the fire," tenant Donald Leger said.

Alarms at the complex rang and people scurried, banging on the doors of their fellow tenants and ringing their buzzers on the way out of the building.

"You could smell the smoke," tenant Tito Delvecchio said. "It was pretty heavy, and I just took off, went outside and there was flames shooting everywhere."

By the time firemen got to the scene, the fire had a good start, and investigators said that they knew why. They said that there was no firewall to slow down the fire.

Tenant Carolyn Rohan was close to the fire, but for safety reasons, she had to stay in her apartment until help could get to her.

"It was just kind of an unusual situation that you don't believe you're in," Rohan said. "The fire was about 20 feet away."

The fire started early Monday morning, so the people living in the complex had to wait until daylight made its way into the region before they were able to get a better look at the damage.

Many family members came to check on loved ones.

Others, including tenant George Williams, spent the day with insurance companies, utilities and tying up a million other loose ends.

As cots and blankets came from the Red Cross and food arrived from Burger King so did some disturbing news from investigators. They sifted shovel after shovel full of debris, enabling a specially trained dog to sniff out trouble.

"The dog detected a couple of suspicious spots," Rocky River Fire Department Chief Chris Flynn said. "They'll have to be sent off to the lab for testing."

The Red Cross and the owner of the apartment building are now helping displaced families find a place to stay.

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