Fire, explosions hit downtown East Chicago


A fire fueled by several explosions destroyed several businesses in downtown East Chicago.

The Times of Munster and the Post-Tribune of Merrillville reported the fire began about 4:30 p.m. and was brought under control by 7:30 p.m.

East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland says one firefighter was injured after being struck by a fire hose.

The building covering half of a city block houses a recycling business and an auto glass company.

Nearby resident Juan Puente says a fireball erupted from the recycling business.

Another nearby resident, Ron Nieblas, says he heard several explosions.

The fire produced black smoke that was visible for miles, drawing a large of onlookers from East Chicago, Hammond and other communities.

Copeland says the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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