One North Royalton resident is dead and two others injured after a fire broke out at the Sunrise Cove Condominiums on York Road. The fire took place on Sunday, January 21.
A call came into dispatch at about 2:45 p.m., reporting black smoke seen coming from the second floor of the building at 9600 Cove Drive. Dispatch advised the North Royalton Fire Department that a caller reported hearing explosions. The fire started in the first floor unit and traveled into the second floor unit.
Mutual aid was given to the NRFD by the Parma, Broadview Heights, Seven Hills and Berea Fire Departments, according to North Royalton Fire Chief Bob Chegan. He reported that shortly upon arrival, a search was conducted and they had located a victim in the back bedroom. The victim was immediately transported to MetroHealth Medical Center. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. The victim, although not identified at that time, was reported to be a woman in her 60s. It was since reported that the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner identified the victim as sixty-seven-year-old Valerie Cook. Two other residents were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. One was then taken to the hospital for further evaluation.
“Basically, it was careless disposition of smoking materials,” said Chegan. “The resident was on home oxygen,” Chegan explained. “Unfortunately, and due to the intensity of the fire, those cylinders exploded.” He explained that an oxygen-rich environment can cause an easier ignition of fire and that it burns quickly. Chegan noted that, “Everyone has to be very mindful when participating with smoking. Even with the use of candles, you have to be mindful to what that could lead to.”
All units sustained different levels of smoke damage, according to Chegan. Also, there was exterior damage. Chegan noted that the development was built with masonry walls, which he felt saved lives.
The Red Cross was called in to assist the residents of the eleven other units who resided in that building, as they were not permitted to stay that evening. According to the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s fire prevention data, around 20% of all fire deaths are related to smoking, with most victims smoking while on oxygen.

Contributing Writer