Fire officials: Willoughby apartment complex collapsed in under 30 minutes

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 3:21 PM EST
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WILLOUGHBY, Ohio (WOIO) - An under-construction Chagrin Riverwalk apartment building burned to the ground Friday morning, with officials saying it took roughly 23 minutes to collapse.

Days later, it’s an eerie sight. The only things left standing are two emergency brick stairwells.

Officials said the cost of damages is in the millions.

Adjacent apartments were also damaged.

Windows that shattered are now boarded up, melted siding now hanging of the buildings.

Luckily, residents can still live in their homes.

Officials said over 50 cars burned, one belonging to Katie Martin, a resident of Chagrin Riverwalk apartments.

On Monday, auto adjusters were out surveying the damage to their customers’ cars.

“I got pretty lucky there are definitely other cars that are worse off around here,” she said. “Over the phone they basically said that I was going to be totaled. Just from the damage on the windshield alone.”

Willoughby Fire Chief, Tod Ungar reassures quick repairs to neighboring apartments are on the way.

“Knowing how the Marous Brother’s work, I’m sure that they will have it done very quickly. They’re not going to waste any time. Speaking with them Friday morning, I’m sure they will expedite getting the buildings repaired as soon as possible,” said Ungar.

Nearby businesses and schools weren’t affected.

Willoughby Fine Arts Association, which is located across the street from the apartment complex, was closed over the weekend because of the fire.

They are back open now, with no damage done to their building.

Celia Martucci, who works at a nearby business, Chiro CLE, said she is glad everyone is okay.

“We’re really thankful that our building was safe but it was it was quite an interesting thing to see,” she said.

Residents said they saw a fire truck outside their apartment Thursday night before the fire happened Friday morning.

Ungar said that this was unrelated.

“We were there for a false alarm in the middle of the night. It was one of the occupied buildings. It had nothing to do with the building that burned,” said Ungar.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.