Large plume of smoke over Elkhart the result of accidental fire

(Bill Beck/Elkhart Truth)

A large plume of smoke over Elkhart late Tuesday morning, Sep. 15, turned out to be the result of a fire accidentally started by demolition crews while cutting steel with torches at a site downtown.

Initial reports suggested the location was the former Goodwill Store in the 500 block of East Jackson Boulevard.

The following information was released by the Elkhart Fire Department:

Elkhart Fire Dept. personnel arrived to find a large commercial structure in the process of being demolished. 

They found a large amount of debris on fire to the west of the remaining structure.  The demolition crew was using an excavator to systematically remove structural components of the building and separate them by type. 

At some point during this process, excess heat developed in a pile of combustible materials causing the fire. 

The fire was on a concrete area that already had most of the roof assembly removed and there was no fire extension into the remaining structure. 

All utilities had already been turned off at this location prior to the fire.  EFD personnel were able to extinguish the fire quickly with the help of the excavation company using their equipment to move debris around as it was extinguished


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