Northside Building Blaze Looks Like An Accident (With Photos)

By Krystal Shull
By Eric Dutkiewicz
By Jeff Neumeyer


31 photos

January 7, 2013 Updated Dec 5, 2013 at 1:00 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) --Fort Wayne firefighters now say a spectacular blaze Monday night in a high profile vacant building was the result of an accident.

The former Hooters restaurant burst into flames on East Coliseum Boulevard after 6:30 p.m.

Hundreds of motorists were near the scene when the fire was roaring.

The building Tuesday was in tatters, gutted by the blaze from the night before.

The word from investigators is that a crew of four workers removing cooking equipment from the building somehow generated a spark that eventually turned the facility into a red-hot ball of flames.

About 25 firefighters worked in the cold to get the fire under control.

No one was hurt.

We talked to Jerry Hughes, who was in a van with his wife at Clinton and Coliseum, when he noticed trouble.

" Just happened to look over to the left and saw the fire shooting out of the roof of Hooters. And in the front windows, you could see people inside working," said Hughes.

“ Cooking appliances that were being removed, that's basically how it started, by workers that were inside there,” said Assistant Fire Chief Jim Murua.

“They all, obviously, self-evacuated and were out of the structure before we entered it."

Murua said it does not appear that the workers were acting recklessly when the fire triggered.

A representative of the property owner who was at the scene did not want to answer questions.

The finding that the fire started as a result of an accident should aid the property owner in collecting on insurance, provided there was coverage.

A web page we found advertises the space for lease.

Hooters shut down last May without any real explanation.

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