Fairlawn fire officials said they’re still trying to determine the cause of the blaze that ripped through the Cornus Hill Mansion in Fairlawn Heights from Saturday evening through Sunday morning, destroying about a third of it and leaving the rest heavily damaged from smoke and heat.

Fairlawn Fire Chief Russell Hose said his crew spent about 12 hours on scene as they fought the fire that posed a number of challenges in the cold weather, prompting assistance from multiple fire departments and even snowplows.

The Fairlawn Fire Department was dispatched to the house at 2544 Chamberlain Road at about 9 p.m. Saturday. Fairlawn police arrived first and reported that the house was fully engulfed.

Akron, Copley and Bath fire departments were all part of the initial response, along with Fairlawn. Norton, Sharon Township and Richfield eventually sent equipment and people as well, Hose said, to help navigate the challenges of the cold weather.

Hose said the departments had trouble reaching the house, which is positioned at the top of a “great big switchback driveway, well over 1,000 feet long.”

“It was totally snow-covered and slippery,” Hose added.

Trucks were already out plowing, so the fire department dispatched one to clear and salt the driveway.

After that, firefighters were able to source water from Chamberlain Road and reach the top of the hill.

A nursing home is situated near the lot as well, which is something the departments had to take into consideration while fighting the blaze, Hose said.

Hose said the fire was under control by midnight and most of the departments left the scene by 2 a.m. Fairlawn firefighters stayed on the scene through the night extinguishing the remaining hot spots.

Hose said the house has been vacant and boarded up for a number of years, so there were no injuries.

“For as bad as it could’ve been, everything went pretty good,” Hose said.

The 10,864-square-foot mansion, built in 1935, once belonged to Russell Firestone. He was the second son of Firestone tire company founder Harvey Firestone, and he moved into the property in 1937.

At that time, the two-story brick mansion had 31 rooms with a 156-foot brick facade surrounded by 13 acres of terraces and gardens.

Dorothy Firestone, Russell Firestone’s wife, sold Cornus Hill to the Akron Bible Institute a few months before he died of a lingering illness at the age of 50.

The mansion was bought in 1960 and turned into a convalescent home by George E. Wilson, who was Ohio development director in the James Rhodes administration and later served on the University of Akron’s board of trustees.

Greg Wilson is listed as the current owner of the property, but he could not be reached Sunday.

The property is worth an estimated $307,478 and is located in the second-highest spot in Summit County, according to realtor.com. Last year, it was listed for more than double that price, and in 2013, nearly three times as much.

The home has had trouble with vandalism in recent years. In 2016, trespassers spray-painted racial epithets, ethnic slurs and symbols in nearly every room of the mansion, akron.com reported.

Now, the mansion is nearly gone. Hose said investigators will be on the scene Tuesday to try to determine a cause, but “it’s burnt so hard and bad that I don’t know if they’ll exactly find it.”

The mansion is situated near a commercial area off of West Market Street, where people could see smoke billowing through the trees.

Kyle Thompson of Copley, who took a video of the fire from a distance, said he tried to drive on Chamberlain Road coming home from the grocery store during the fire, but police had it blocked off. He said he drives past the home frequently.

“It was a piece of Akron history,” he said.

Theresa Cottom can be reached at 330-996-3216 or tcottom@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @Theresa_Cottom.