Sprinkler system failed to activate at Belmont Ave. warehouse
There are new details on the investigation and clean-up of the huge three-alarm fire last weekend.
The city is giving the building's owner seven days to tear down parts of the heavily damaged building still standing. Investigators found the sprinkler system didn't go off when the fire started.
Nine days after the June 15th fire, the sprawling ruins on Belmont Ave. are still dangerous. Firefighters were back, putting out flames that rekindled in the debris.
Federal and Indianapolis investigators are finished here, but aren't saying much about what they found and where they are looking now for clues.
"As with any investigation, this one is far from over," said Gary Coons, Marion County Homeland Security Director.
The fire blackened the sky on June 15th as flames swept through ten acres of storage space stacked with old tires, roofing supplies and propane tanks.
Investigators found the building's sprinkler system did not work. They've ruled out several possible accidental causes, including a natural gas leak.
But Coons added, "we haven't ruled out all accidental causes. We ruled out some, but we have not ben able to rule out all so we are still trying to chip away at each individual piece."
Coons said investigators still have numerous interviews to do as they look for more information.
At the same time, environmental clean-up crews are chipping away at hazardous debris that sailed from the fire into surrounding neighborhoods. Pieces of charred roofing and other building materials contain asbestos.
Curtis Bottoms was surprised to see a handful of men cleaning the streets and sidewalks.
"I wasn't expecting them to be out here going at it like they are. It also raises concerns. It must be important, to be up and out of there," he said.
The fire caused an estimated $10 million in damages, according to investigators.
Although debris was found in neighborhoods miles from the fire, by Monday morning, crews had collected less than ten bags of it.
Only 30 residents have called the health department asking for their yards and sidewalks to be cleaned of the hazardous trash. The Marion County Department of Public Health's hot line 317-221-2159 is still open during business hours.