Westside Warehouse Under Control but Still Burning
Evacuated Residents Allowed to Return to Their Homes
(Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Fire Department)
It took over 8 hours for firefighters to gain control of the warehouse fire in the 200 block of South Belmont Avenue.
Over 200 firefighters from seven different departments helped battle the blaze. The structure was a warehouse that housed several different businesses and contained tires, wood pallets, siding, and other materials from ceiling to floor.
A crew of 6 aerial trucks, 7 engines, a battalion chief, and a safety officer manned the scene through the night, extinguishing hot spots and hauling burning material out of the building. IFD spokeswoman Rita Burris says today's goal is to bring in more back hoes and other equipment to continue hauling out burning material in order to give firefighters a chance to enter the building and do an interior check for hot spots and burning areas.
Fire investigators began interviews with maintenance personnel and other witnesses yesterday to get a preliminary report, but don't expect to be able to enter what's left of the building until Monday. A cause of the fire may not been known for a few days.
Over 100 homes east of the fire's location were evacuated because of concerns with particulates and toxins in the smoke that could be harmful. The Marion County Health Department, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies monitored the air quality in the area of the fire and the evacuated neighborhood all night. The biggest threat remains closest to the fire where firefighters are using breathing apparatus. Officials found nothing of significant worry and release the neighborhood back to most residents this morning. Only people with pre-existing medical conditions or an extreme sensitivity to smoke and pollutants are being advised not to return to the area.