Fire eats away at tire shop on Indy's north side

INDIANAPOLIS - A fire on the city’s west destroyed a business and stopped traffic for hours on a busy road Wednesday morning.

The fire broke out at Michel’s Tire Shop near 30th Street and Lafayette Road just after 9 a.m., officials with the Indianapolis Fire Department said.

Lafayette Road was closed for hours between 30th and 34th streets while firefighters had to try a couple of methods to put the stubborn fire out.

The smoke was thick and toxic, which prompted firefighters to warn area residents to stay indoors.

"Smoke from any fire is toxic, but smoke from tire fires is especially black, it's especially toxic," IFD Capt. Rita Reith said. "They had a difficult time trying to get the fire to subdue due to the amount of tires inside the building. Tires are very hard to put out just due to the composite nature of the tire."

After water failed to make much headway, firefighters attacked the flames with a chemical they call cold fire -- a foam typically used at airport crashes or HAZMAT scenes. It quickly did the job, officials said.

But the business, owned by Jose Gonzales for about eight months, is a total loss.

There were no injuries and no one was inside the building at the time the fire broke out. Fire investigators were still searching for a cause.

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