RICHMOND, Ind. — Investigators with the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office said they are hard at work trying to find the cause of the recent massive warehouse fire in Richmond.
The office announced Friday that crews are looking to speak with any former employees of the My Way Trading warehouse that was destroyed in the fire last week.
On top of the ongoing investigation, many businesses in the area are still regrouping after a very difficult week.
“It was unbelievable,” said Jenny Tinkle, the office manager of Overhead Door Company of Richmond. “I have never seen anything like it.”
Tinkle works at a business located across the street from where the massive fire warehouse began.
“When we saw the smoke, a large amount of black smoke, we evacuated on our own,” she said. “We knew we shouldn’t stick around. It was pretty close, so we did that for our own safety.”
Tinkle and her husband had to shut the doors of their business for several days. Streets were blocked, shipping was delayed and operations slowed down.
However, they said they are grateful it wasn’t any worse for their business.
“I am just thankful we are still in business,” she said. “There was a gentleman that came in the other day who owns one of the buildings near that area who lost one of his buildings. He was less fortunate but he said ‘you know what, one of my buildings burnt down, but I still have the two standing.’ That’s the way we are trying to look at it. The cup isn’t half empty. It’s half full.”
Now with things slowly getting back to normal, the question at the forefront of Tinkle’s mind, like many others – How did this happen in the first place?
“There are just a lot of unknowns out there,” Tinkle said. “It obviously must’ve started somewhere in the building because that’s where I saw the smoke coming out, but I don’t know.”
The Richmond Fire Chief says when he first arrived at the fire he saw bundles of plastics in flames and from there it grew to 13.8 acres of burning plastics.
“We arrived on the scene and we found some bundles of plastics on fire in a large pile,” Chief Tim Brown said. “We tried to extinguish that. However, the fire jumped from one pile of plastics to another pile of plastics. It darkened down on us and we pulled back out and started a defensive operation.”
In the last week, investigators have searched through the site thoroughly, taking pictures, and looking for any signs as to what caused the fire. Now, they are looking to speak with former employees of the warehouse to learn any information that could help but it’s going to take a very long time to piece it all together.
“It could be weeks. It could be months. It could be years,” Chief Tim Brown said.
And while the investigation is still in the very early stages, people like Tinkle say they are thankful that business can resume as usual once again!
The site of the fire has been blocked off and people are asked to stay out. Crews will still be going in and out of the site to put out hot spots every few days.