updated 5/31/2005 10:19:57 PM ET 2005-06-01T02:19:57

Authorities have determined a house fire that killed nine people on May 21 was deliberately set, fire officials said Tuesday night.

City fire investigators and the state fire marshal both concluded that the blaze was the result of arson, said Lt. Clayton Cunningham, a spokesman for the Cleveland Fire Department.

Cunningham did not know what evidence the two agencies used to reach their finding, which reversed an initial determination that the fire was accidental and not suspicious.

Investigators have not identified a motive or suspect, Cunningham said. The department planned to hold a news conference Wednesday, he said.

Earlier Tuesday, about 4,000 people gathered at the Cleveland Convention Center for a funeral service honoring eight of the victims.

Evelyn Martin, grandmother of six young victims and mother of Medeia Carter, 33, who died with four of her children, said: “I am grateful to God that she went with the babies and the babies went with her.”

A funeral service for the ninth victim, a friend of the family that lived in the home, was held Saturday. A critically burned woman’s condition was upgraded last week to fair. Another man escaped unharmed from the fire.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments