Crews respond to fire at building housing floats for 500 Festival parade


Photo courtesy Indianapolis Fire Department

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INDIANAPOLIS (May 12, 2015) – A fire damaged a 500 Festival float after breaking out in a warehouse on the south side of Indianapolis Tuesday morning.

The float sponsored by the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis was heavily damaged in the fire and is likely a total loss.

The fire was reported around 9:30 a.m. at Expo Design on South Harding Street. Eight employees were working on floats when the fire sparked. Investigators didn’t have an exact cause, although it’s likely related to work on the floats.

A 22-year-old employee suffered a slight injury and went to an area hospital for evaluation.

An employee closed a fire door, preventing flames from spreading to the rest of the building and other floats. There were a total of 9 floats in the building.  The remaining 3 floats in the upcoming parade are being stored at a different location.

Back in 1997, a fire broke out in the building and damaged all of the floats. When the warehouse was rebuilt, fire doors were installed to separate the bays as a precaution. Capt. Rita Reith with the Indianapolis Fire Department said the new fire suppression system likely prevented this from being a repeat of the 1997 incident.

Organizers with the 500 Festival said work would continue on the other floats at the building. Investigators continue to pinpoint the cause of the fire.

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