By Rita Reith
On Monday, February 10, 2020, Indianapolis firefighters responded to a fire in a large vacant commercial building.
Two Beech Grove units were also dispatched along with 19 Indianapolis Fire Department units. Heavy black smoke could be seen for mile from the site, and crews found heavy fire and smoke showing on arrival.
Crews made entry but reported a compromised interior, so defensive operations were established. There were hazardous materials reported to be inside the structure, possibly chromium.
No firefighters were injured, but two police officers were evaluated for smoke inhalation.
Area residents say three adult squatters are said to have taken up residence inside the structure. Investigators believe the occupants were using pallets inside the structure to build a warming fire and it got away from them.
RITA L. REITH is a battalion chief with the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) and serves as the agency’s public information officer.