NORDONIA HILLS — The Macedonia Fire Department responded to two back-to-back fires Wednesday that generated a lot of smoke, but were much less serious than they seemed, said Fire Chief Brian Ripley.

Ripley said there were no injuries in either fire.

"Things looked a lot worse and sounded a lot worse if you listened to sirens than it really was," he said.

The first fire was at a business at 115 W. Aurora Road in Northfield Center that turned out to be burning mulch that was reported at 4:46 p.m.

"It got dispatched as a structure fire because they thought the basement was on fire, so that’s how we responded as if it was, but when we got there, it was mulch in the flower beds," said Ripley. "Somebody threw a cigarette butt, it ignited the mulch and it generated more smoke than normal because there was a PVC pipe for drainage out there and it started the PVC on fire."

Ripley said the fire was quickly extinguished and the only damage was to the mulch and the pipe. The fire department cleared the scene at 5:15 p.m.

Then at 6 p.m., a vehicle fire was reported at a business at 8503 S. Freeway Drive in Macedonia. It was a van filled with old tires.

"That generated a whole lot of smoke that basically was going over Route 82 from Valley View Road and 82 to the I-271 bridge," said Ripley.

Ripley said a man was working on the van with a cutting torch, the passenger area caught fire, which then spread to the cargo area where the tires were stored. Ripley said he does not believe the van had much value.

"A total loss, it’s gone," he said.

Ripley said firefighters remained on scene until 7:19 p.m., long enough to extinguish the fire and for FirstEnergy Corp. to ensure there was no damage to overhead power lines.

Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, jsaunders@recordpub.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.