November 23, 2012

Building collapses after fire

City had asked for Sixth Street building to be torn down

by Caitlin Huston

LOGANSPORT — A two-story abandoned building that the city had repeatedly asked to be torn down was destroyed by a fire Thursday evening.

Pillars of smoke filled the sky Thanksgiving Day as the Logansport Fire Department responded to the fire at the abandoned building at the rear of 212 Sixth St. There were no injuries in the fire and firefighters had the blaze under control at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

The fire was called in shortly after 4 p.m. by Logansport Police Department officer Eric Binney. The Logansport Fire Department arrived on scene and began to fight the large blaze that could be seen in the second story of the brick building.

As the firefighters directed water towards the flames, the roof of the second floor collapsed and was shortly followed by the second-floor walls. Logansport Municipal Utilities worked to cut off the power from the lines running down the alley between the abandoned building and several businesses.

As of 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Assistant Chief Rick Bair of the Logansport Fire Department said the fire was “mostly contained.”

“Right now, we’re doing an all defensive attack,” Bair said.

At that point, Bair said the building was totaled.

“The entire building caved in,” Bair said.

The building has been owned by Jeff Murray since 2001 and was constructed in 1900. Murray, who has had problems with several buildings meeting building regulations, was asked in September by the city to make sure that the Sixth Street building was up to code.

At the time, Randy Head, Logansport city attorney, said he was concerned about the safety of the structure.

“The building on Sixth Street has bricks falling off of the walls and is a concern because there is a public alleyway attached,” Head said in September. “The city asked it to be torn down in two earlier cases but the request was denied.”

Bill Minglin, co-owner of Minglin Jewelers, which shares an alley with the building, said a corner of the building had caved in last summer and the building had been barricaded.

To fight the fire Thursday, Bair said the firefighters had called in off-duty men and had hoses hooked up to three nearby hydrants.  

“We’re putting a lot of water on it,” Bair said.

He said he did not know where the fire originated or how it started.

“We won’t know for days,” Bair said.

Bair expected that the firefighters would be fighting the blaze all night.

He added that he expected the surrounding buildings would suffer smoke and water damage, but that he did not believe the fire would spread.

“There’s probably going to be damage to some of them,” Bair said.

Kevin Crook, whose insurance agency was located directly in front of the building, said he first heard about the fire from his parents. No one was in his office at the time of the fire and Crook said he was thankful that the fire had not done more damage.

“I’m very thankful that it’s a small fire that’s contained,” Crook said.

Crook said his business would survive any damage due to its insurance.

“It’s insured,” Crook said. “I’ve got a great agent.”

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or