NEW PALESTINE — A firework-filled New Palestine building caught fire Monday causing a series of pops, cracks and explosions as crews from four area fire departments fought the blaze.
Four Seasons Market, a New Palestine nursery and garden center located in the 6100 block of U.S. 52 West, was most destroyed Monday after three of its storage facilities caught fire, officials said. Two buildings were lost in the fire; one was badly damaged.
The business sells seasonal outdoor goods, including garden statues, pumpkins and, in the summer, fireworks.
At least one of the structures was storing leftover firecrackers and sparklers, said firefighter Tony Bratcher, a spokesman for the Sugar Creek Township Fire Department. The flames ignited the fireworks, causing loud blasts that could be heard throughout the area, Bratcher said.
Story continues below gallery
The sporadic explosions caused by the fireworks made fighting the blaze more dangerous than the typical structure fire, Bratcher said.
The first firefighters on scene acted with caution because they didn’t know what was causing the explosions, he said. Once they were told the building held fireworks, they needed to proceed carefully to ensure no one was hit by burning shrapnel shooting away from the building, he said.
Luckily, no one was hurt, Bratcher said.
It took fire crews from the Sugar Creek Township, Buck Creek Township and Fountaintown fire departments and the Greenfield Fire Territory more than two hours to completely douse the blaze, dispatch records show; fire crews arrived around 2 p.m. and didn’t leave the scene until nearly 5 p.m.
Both lanes of U.S. 52 were shut down between south county roads 600W and 650W while emergency crews were in the area, officials said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and officials aren’t yet sure if the exploding fireworks caused the blaze to spread, Bratcher said.
In all, three of the business’s buildings were damaged: two burned to the ground; a third was damaged but is repairable, said Bratcher, who estimated the repairs at $10-$15,000.
Officials from Four Seasons Market did not return calls for comment.