Crews battle overnight fire in Elkhart County Indiana

The fire broke out at the Lami Plast fiberglass plant in the 54000 block of Adams Street In Osolo Township.

Originally emergency crews were called out there at 11 Saturday night when the building’s roof collapsed due to all the snow, but they didn’t find anything so they cleared the scene

Then at 2 a.m. the fire call came in — no one was working inside at the time, but Some 30 people nearby were evacuated and have not been allowed back home yet.

WSBT’s Ed Ernstes was  out at this location all day as firefighters battled the blaze through the daylight hours.

When the sun came up sunday morning, the stubborn fire was still burning in an area about the size of a football field. It sent plumes of black smoke into the air that could be seen miles away.

Crews remained on scene throughout the night putting out hot spots.

Neighbors will hopefully be able to go home once the last of the hot spots are out.

Jen Padgett, who lives nearby, says she saw a lot of smoke and flames that  covered the sky, taking on an erie appearance.

“Oh yeah, it was rolling, it just looked like a monster,” she said. “It had a life of its own. The flames were huge.”

she says she and another neighbor heard several explosions early on in the fire — explosions that shook her house.

The smoke she saw came from several different types of materials that were burning.

“There is a lot plastic products, laminating products and tar paper and that sort of thing, which is creating a lot of the heavy, dark smoke,” Assistant Chief Jo Johnston with the Osolo Fire Department told us.

Photo courtesy of David Geesaman.

Photo courtesy of David Geesaman.

Photo courtesy of David Geesaman.

Photo courtesy of David Geesaman.

Photo courtesy of David Geesaman.

Photo courtesy of David Geesaman.

Water became an issue to fight the fire — fire crews were able to tap into a city hydrant three city blocks away for half of the water needed. The rest had to be brought in my tankers from several departments.

Now as a precaution, early on, a number of home owners living just south of the fire scene were asked to evacuate their home because of the large amount of dark smoke blowing towards them — not because it was toxic, but because it could possibly cause respiratory problems.

In the course of fighting the fire, two fireman received minor injuries and were taken to Elkhart General Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

“It was my understanding that a hose line was not completely coupled, and when it received the pressure from the water, the line blew out and the hose struck the two firefighters,” said Johnston.

The big concern was making sure the huge fire didn’t spread to homes on the south side and businesses to the west

Indiana Department of Environmental Management officials are out at the scene monitoring for runoff, since so much water is being used. Also, fire officials confirm 55 gallon drums were popping during the fire and they simply don’t know what is in those drums.

Fire officials tell us that although Lami Plast occupies the building, they don’t own it. The owner of the building was flying in from florida.

 

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