Reason for fire still unknown

Officials can’t investigate cause until state engineer examines plaza

GREENFIELD — Local fire officials can’t investigate what caused the blaze that destroyed a Greenfield business plaza Friday night until state officials determine what’s left of the buildings is safe to enter.

Investigators are waiting for a state engineer to visit Greenfield’s Riley Park Plaza, located at Apple and Main streets, and examine what remains of the structure, Greenfield Firefighter Corey Breese, a spokesman for the Greenfield Fire Territory.

Until then, they can’t determine what caused the fire or properly assess how much damage was done, Breese said. But it’s clear that three of the businesses located inside Riley Park Plaza are a total loss, he said.

A 911 caller told emergency dispatchers a fire had started in a paint booth inside Mueller Auto Body, 1020 E. Main St., just before 5 p.m. Friday, records show. First-responders rushed to the scene while everyone inside the four businesses housed in Riley Park Plaza evacuated.

Heavy black smoke poured into the sky, and fire crews from the across the county were called to help. They stayed on scene for more than seven hours before the fire was complete extinguished, records show.

The workshop area of Mueller’s burned completely to the ground and is now roped off by caution tape, with signs warning trespassers to beware.

Its two most adjacent storefronts, Tangles Family Salon and PopIndy, also were destroyed in the fire. Hairclips and discarded candies now litter the plaza’s parking lot, remnants of the two now blackened businesses.

The fire ripped through the attic of neighboring storefront Burdock Boutique, officials said. The knickknacks and handmade decorations for sale inside the store were damaged by smoke and water.

The site of the damaged building has drawn stares from passers-by along Main Street.

Shelley Swift, the director of Greenfield Main Street, said the organization is working to help the four affected businesses in any way it can. Swift hopes to find the business owners space to operate on a temporary basis while their shops are rebuilt.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.