FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- The Fort Wayne Fire Chief declared Saturday evening that water run-off and smoke from the Wayne Metal Protection fire is non-threatening.
Assistant Fire Chief Mike Miller said Sunday morning, the Neighborhood Code contacted a demolition company who began tearing down left over portions of the building.
Reports say the now-vacant building once contained hazardous chemicals. A plan was implemented in 2010, to remove contaminated soil and ground water around the former manufacturing plant. Miller says no dangerous material were found inside the building and toxicity tests of run-off and air quality showed no signs of danger.
There's been speculation that the ground surrounding Wayne Metal is toxic. Miller says that is something only the Indiana Department of Environmental Management could determine. He says if the ground was toxic it wouldn't have effected how FWFD handled the fire.
The fire at the Wayne Metals Protection facility at 1511 Wabash Avenue broke out around 4:30 Saturday afternoon. Firefighters were on scene of the expansive, vacant building within five minutes and started to attack the fire.
Just as the TinCaps' game was about to start, fans could see thick, black smoke hovering east of Parkview Field. In fact, the smoke could be seen all across town. The fire was so reminiscent of the major blaze on a Sunday afternoon in October that leveled parts of Momper Insulation on the city's near west side. People from across town, and especially people with homes right next to the burning building, felt anxious if Momper was about to repeat itself.
Assistant Fire Chief Mike Miller says they believe the fire started in the storage or office areas, but it spread so quickly that it consumed the entire building. However, firefighters soon halted their aggressive attack in order to test water and air levels. After the close call with toxicity levels from the Momper fire, officials wanted to err on the side of caution.
Water and air samples were taken in coordination with Fort Wayne Hazardous Material Team and the City's Water Pollution Team. The samples came back negative for any hazardous material, so efforts picked up full force to kill the fire. Just before 7 p.m. Saturday the fire was reported under control, but the building still smoldered late into the evening.
Roads surrounding the business zone were blocked off to all traffic throughout the day. Norfolk Southern tracks go right past Wayne Metals. As of 7 p.m. Saturday, the tracks were back open for train traffic.
Power had to be shut off to surrounding homes for the safety of the firefighters in the aerial attack. As of 8:45 Saturday evening, the Fire Chief was still not sure when power would be restored to those homes.
No one was hurt during the fire. The cause of the fire and extent of damage is still under investigation.
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