IFD battles fire at intersection of State Avenue and Van Buren Street

Investigators awaiting OK from DCE to enter

INDIANAPOLIS - For about 15 hours, the Indianapolis Fire Department battled a building fire near the intersection of State Avenue and Van Buren Street just southeast of Fountain Square.

The fire sparked just after 9 p.m. Sunday and was initially dispatched as a four-alarm fire, but was later upgraded to a three-alarm fire.

Crews left the scene at noon Monday.

IFD confirmed early Monday that the fire started in an abandoned building at 1545 E. Van Buren St., which once housed the Holcomb & Hoke Manufacturing Co.

The blaze spread to an eight-block radius, shutting down traffic on State Avenue and LeGrande Avenue. Van Buren was shut down but reopened to traffic just before 9 a.m. Drivers were advised to avoid the area as crews worked to clean up the debris, IFD Lt. Larry Tracy said.

"When you have a building of this size and the contents of the building are unknown… we went defensive and fought the fire from the exterior making this much safer for the firefighters and the residents that are surrounding the building," Tracy said.

Officials said about 15 homes were evacuated because of the risk of flying embers.

No serious injuries were reported, but one IFD firefighter was taken to Methodist Hospital for heat exhaustion. IFD officials said the firefighter was released from the hospital Monday morning.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation. 

Monday afternoon, the Department of Code Enforcement was assessing the building's remains to determine if the warehouse should be demolished or stabilized.

Fire investigators cannot enter the building to continue their investigation until they're given approval by DCE.

The Environmental Protection Agency will also test the air quality for the investigative team to determine what, if any, protective equipment is needed.

Officials said the EPA has conducted air quality tests inside the warehouse before, and they did not find anything concerning.

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The approximate location of the State Street/Van Buren fire

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