FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - A massive fire near downtown Monday has been placed under control by firefighters.
Firefighters were first called at 2:19 p.m. and declared the fire under control at 8:26 p.m. in the 1200 block of Herbert Street.
FWFD spokesperson Stacey Fleming said crews will continue rotating through the night to monitor the situation and extinguish and hot spots. Demolition crews are also at the site and will coordinate with investigators on how to proceed.
Photo Gallery | Herbert Street Fire
Officials are expecting a lengthy investigation.
A FWFD battalion chief first noticed smoke and flames billowing from the building. A large response from the fire department required assistance from surrounding departments outside the city. Mutual aid from several county departments was available during the most intense moments of the fire, including at the scene and at various stations throughout the city.
Officials said close to 100 firefighters were on scene. Area businesses donated food for those working the fire. Those include Don Hall's Old Gas House Restaurant, Buffalo Wings and Ribs, Casa Italian Restaurant, and Subway.
During the fire’s peak, flames towered into the air. A thick black smoke was visible for miles around the city and in surrounding counties. Neighbors and residents were concerned about contaminants in the smoke. Fleming said the smoke should not create any health hazards for nearby residents.
“We have no reason to believe there is any hazardous material,” Fleming said. “It is a storage facility. We have nothing to indicate any further.”
Officials have not specifically said what is in the building. The building’s owner has been contacted.
Fire officials have not said the total number of buildings affected, but at least four have been destroyed.
Several walls and roofs collapsed and firefighters never had a chance to battle the fire from the inside. Several of the department’s ladder trucks poured tens-of-thousands of gallons of water from the air.
Nearby train tracks were shut down, but as of 10 p.m. train traffic has been allowed to resume normal flow through the city.
Indiana Michigan Power cut electricity to about a thousand customers in the immediate area of the fire. AEP officials said most power was restored around 9:30 p.m.
Fleming said two firefighters were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Fleming did not disclose their injuries.
A long list of agencies provided support and will continue to aid with the fire and investigation.
Three Rivers Ambulance Authority, Fort Wayne police, Water Pollution Control, Water Maintenance Department, NIPSCO, and Allen County Homeland Security have provided staffing and resources.
Around 11:30 p.m. police reopened roads in the area of the fire, including the Tecumseh Street Bridge.
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