Massive fire breaks out on N. Garvin St. in Evansville
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A warehouse fire broke out on Saturday morning in Evansville.
According to Evansville Fire Department officials, the call came in around 10:30 a.m. for a structure fire in the 1400 block of North Garvin Street.
“Next thing I know I see flames shooting from this building and fire department and everything come rushing through as I hear this big explosion,” said Stephen McKinney Jr., who lives nearby.
What began as a commercial structure fire quickly escalated into a four-alarm fire.
“Wow, this building close to my house is up in flames, like fighting a battle for hours and hours,” McKinney Jr. said.
McKinney Jr. drove past the beginnings of the blaze, and his shock quickly shifted to fear.
“I was scared because I don’t know what’s in that building, and I was scared that is was going to blow everything up around us,” McKinney Jr. said.
EFD worked to contain what officials estimate as an over 250,000 square feet fire. Scenes of transformers and powerlines catching fire concerned all in the near vicinity.
“Obviously a very large fire,” said EFD Division Chief Mike Larson. “We’re going to be here for a while.”
Every firefighter who was off-duty was quickly thrust into an all-hands-on-deck scenario. Division Chief Larson says the fire moved fast.
“When we get to a fire that’s this massive, our flow rates of water far exceed any type of capability of a residential or city water supply,” Division Chief Larson said.
Lifetime resident Charlie Adams joined the many who came to watch the fire burn. Adams says his concern grew, as he used to install HVAC systems in the building, and had an idea of what could’ve been inside.
“It’s gonna catch really fast, there was a lot of material in there that’s quite flammable,” Adams said.
Adams says between this fire, and the one on North Morton Avenue just months ago, it’s heartbreaking to see once vibrant industrial landmarks burned to the ground.
“It’s alarming, very alarming,” Adams said. “All these places in town now, that used to be industrial areas, it seems like there, wow I don’t know, you gotta wonder about that.”
Officials say it is unknown if there was anyone inside the building at the time of the fire.
Indiana State Fire Marshalls are on the scene, along with the American Red Cross.
The Evansville Fire Department says firefighters were able to save the main office of Melkay Electrical.
On Saturday night, Division Chief Larson released the following statement:
The Evansville Fire Department will remain on scene of today’s large warehouse fire extinguishing hot spots for the next couple of days. As we continue this activity, and given cloud cover and other weather conditions, a noticeable amount of smoke is likely to remain in the area. This smoke is not healthy to breathe. Residents living near the smoke, especially those with respiratory issues, should make sure doors and windows are properly sealed.
Here is footage from our Steve Mehling from the fire on Saturday morning:
Our Steve Mehling also went on Facebook Live shortly after getting more information on the fire:
Check out our coverage from Saturday in the video below:
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