FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - After a massive fire ripped through several industrial buildings Monday, crews now have the job of investigating and cleaning up the rubble.
Excavation crews and firefighters worked through the night to clear debris to allow room for firefighters to put out hot spots. Lunz Excavating of Fort Wayne is handling the work alongside Fort Wayne firefighters.
Photo Gallery | Herbert Street Fire
Crews have rotated in and out of the complex pouring more water on several areas.
Investigators will wait until most hot spots are out before they begin a full investigation.
A person close to the investigation told NewsChannel 15's Rod Hissong the investigation is focusing on a small area in the middle of one of the front buildings. The person declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.
The person said witness statements from early on in the fire and clues in a particular area lead them to believe a small area in the front building might lead them to evidence of what caused the fire.
Demo crews did not knock down part of the building investigators want to focus on. The portion of the building sits facing the corner of Herbert Street and Cochran Street.
The person did not say if the fire was possibly arson.
FWFD officials have not commented publicly on a possible cause and have not ruled the fire suspicious.
Loud crashes of brick from falling debris, walls, and roofs echoed through the quiet neighborhood just after midnight. A FWFD ladder truck was on scene pouring water from above so equipment working on excavation did not get to hot.
Additional engines worked around various parts of several collapsed structures.
At least five buildings have been destroyed. The buildings contained different types of items, none hazardous or toxic.
One building contained auto parts and items found in an auto repair shop. Explosions heard during the fire were traced to welding and propane tanks.
Another building in the front contained roofing materials and shingles which aided in the color of the black smoke seen for miles around the city Monday.
A member from the Allen County Building Department said the property was condemned Monday. County and City officials will discuss Tuesday who will take over the property.
Early in the morning under a full moon, a light haze of smoke could be seen trailing off for miles towards the east.
The buildings closest to the railroad tracks were previously owned by Wayne Pump back in the early 1900's, according to a building department official. Wayne Pump invented and manufactured gas station pumps. Other buildings on the lot, some caught in the fire, were built at later times.
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