Hot spots remain at Belmont Ave. warehouse fire

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Investigators are trying to figure out what went wrong at a warehouse on the west side of Indianapolis. The Nationwide Recycling center on Belmont Ave. went up in flames on Saturday, forcing people to evacuate their homes.

The fire burned for over eight hours and several firefighters had minor injuries.

Belmont re-opened to traffic Monday, and investigators hope to get inside Tuesday.

The area around the warehouse was still closed off Monday as firefighters continued pouring water on remaining hot spots. Investigators are eager to get inside and begin their search for a cause, but it was still too dangerous.

At a news conference Monday, investigators put out a call for any video or still pictures of the fire.

"It's very important because different vantage points may capture different events showing where the fire may have occurred, for example. That would be very important. The color of the smoke. There's no picture or video that would not be received well," said David Colson, ATF.

Fill out this form to share your picture with investigators. Call 317-262-TIPS if you have video to share.

The fire investigation will involve entering the remains of the structure and knocking down the walls.

"We're coordinating with ATF and our arson units and at some point soon we're gonna turn this over to an investigative phase," said Dep. Chief Ken Bacon, IFD.

Thick, black smoke could be seen for over 20 miles away, prompting dozens of 911 calls - in fact, up to 70 calls in over two hours.

"There's a lot of black smoke coming from a field, or a building over here at Belmont," said one caller.

Code enforcement is also waiting to get inside. They've been standing by all weekend.

"Our number one priority is to assess the overall structure; to find out what areas are sound, what needs to be demolished, what needs to be cleaned out and then get those taken care of as soon as possible," said Adam Baker, Indianapolis Code Enforcement.

About 60 percent of the building was destroyed.

The ATF is helping the Indianapolis Fire Department with the investigation. The owner of the building, who was out of town at the time of the fire, is now back in Indianapolis and has offered to cover the cost of environmental testing as well as demolition.

Unlike many of his neighbors who evacuated their homes Saturday, John Franklin refused to leave. He stayed behind with his three dogs.

"This is my home. I'm not going nowhere," he said, smiling.

Franklin says he's never worried about living a few blocks away from a large industrial area.

"Accidents happen," he said. "I'd like to know how it started - whether it was intentional or accidental. That's the curious part."