Accidental causes not ruled out in Belmont Avenue warehouse fire

Investigators work to determine cause

INDIANAPOLIS - Parts of the Indianapolis warehouse that burned earlier this month will be torn down as investigators keep working to determine what caused the fire.

Officials provided an update Monday morning on the June 15 fire on Belmont Avenue that roared through a 440,000-square-foot building.

Investigators have wrapped up processing the 10-acre scene, but they are still not sure what caused the fire that 150 firefighters spent hours fighting.

"In the area of origin, the fire investigators determined that very few potential accidental sources existed. Of those that do, a number of causes have been ruled out. However, there's still several other potential accidental causes that could still exist and are under investigation," said Chief Gary Coons with the Department of Homeland Security.

Both the gas line leading into the warehouse and weather were ruled out as possible causes.

Investigators found that the on-site sprinkler system did not activate as the fire began. Numerous interviews have been conducted, but officials said there are still more to do.

The property owner has seven days to comply with an emergency demolition order for the building's south wall. After that, officials will be able to get inside to determine what else may need to come down, or if any parts of the building can be saved.

"It's hard for me to say there are no health concerns because I didn't see the state that the material was in," said Jaime Brown with the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Marion County Health Department has received 30 calls on its new hotline created for citizens to report debris that could contain asbestos.

Employees with the EPA have picked up 10 bags so far of the black roofing material. They said the majority of the debris is within a three-block radius of the building.

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