Part of Indianapolis evacuated as plume of smoke fills air
INDIANAPOLIS — A fire engulfed a sprawling mixed-use building near downtown Indianapolis filled with tires and wooden pallets Saturday, producing a towering pillar of black smoke that prompted the evacuation of a five-block area surrounding the structure, authorities said.
Capt. Rita Burris of the Indianapolis Fire Department said about 100 firefighters from six departments were battling the fire that was consuming the two-story brick building about one mile southwest of the city's downtown.
The building was rocked by numerous explosions that Burris said are believed to have been small propane tanks exploding from the heat of the fire.
She said the building houses tire- and pallet-recycling businesses, a bicycle shop and storage facilities, but none were believed to have been open when the fire was reported Saturday afternoon.
The blaze produced such a large plume of black smoke that firefighters ordered the evacuation of a five-block area around the building because of the health threat posed by the smoke, Burris said.
“We've got tires, we've got pallets and we've got siding made of materials that are producing thick, black smoke — a lot of toxins. It's thick, black smoke,” she said.
By the evening, Burris said crews were probably hours away from bringing the fire under control and that firefighters might order additional evacuations if the wind shifted. The fire was reported about 1 p.m. and was burning seven hours later.
She said the only injury has been a firefighter who hurt his knee at the scene.
Because of the scope of the fire, crews had to ask the water department twice to boost water pressure so that they could get enough water to start dousing the flames, Burris said.
Fire crews were expected to remain at the scene throughout the night working to put out the fire. Once the fire is out, Burris said crews will remain there for several days to make sure the blaze doesn't ignite again.
The businesses inside the building contain about 85,000 tires, 60,000 wood pallets and a 500-gallon propane tank that's about one-quarter full, said Chris Wilburn, spokesman for Indianapolis Metropolitan Police. Firefighters were directing water toward the tank to prevent it from exploding, he said.
The Environmental Protection Agency was at the scene monitoring air quality, while officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the local health department have also responded, Wilburn said.
Reserve officers were called to the scene to help with the evacuation and move residents from their homes to shelters.
“At this point they're doing the best they can to get it under control,” Wilburn said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Scientists hope tiny robotic bee’s big dreams take flight
- EPA cites risks from air toxics in urban areas, improvements
- Law broken in Bergdahl hostage deal, GAO finds
- $1T cost to sustain fighter jet in cross hairs
- Don’t eat tuna, Consumer Reports tells mothers-to-be
- Mortgage deal isn’t likely to cost $17B
- $132.5M ransom asked for Foley
- States can apply for more time before using student scores to evaluate teachers
- California attorney general to appeal ruling on death penalty
- GPS stations show drought-stricken California — not pushed downward by 63 trillion gallons of water — is rising
- Utah woman gets 5 years in baby sitter’s overdose death