GREENFIELD — Greenfield Fire Territory officials have yet to determine the cause of a blaze that devastated four local businesses in November, but they’re hopeful the New Year will bring answers.
Riley Park Plaza in Greenfield was so badly damaged by the three-alarm fire that ripped through the building Nov. 10, local fire marshals have not been able to enter the structure to investigate what happened.
Greenfield Fire Marshal Brian Lott said an engineer visited the site in late November and deemed it unsafe. Since then, construction crews have worked to stabilize the building’s roof so that investigators can safely go inside to learn more about what happened, he said.
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They have, however, determined where the fire originated, Lott said.
Something caused a paint booth in the rear of Mueller Auto Body, 1020 E. Main St., to go up in flames, Lott said. But he and his team will need to enter the building to determine why and how the paint booth caught fire, he said.
The fire started just before 5 p.m. Nov. 10, and it triggered a full-staff response from five county fire departments. Each came to the scene with several fire engines and ambulances and enough firefighters to man each truck, officials said.
Everyone inside the businesses was able to safely escape the blaze after the fire started; but a Greenfield Fire Territory firefighter died of a heart attack the next day.
It was the 911 caller who alerted first-responders to the fire that pinpointed the paint booth inside Mueller as the fire’s point of origin, records show.
The workshop area of Mueller’s burned completely to the ground. It’s now been fenced off to keep anyone from getting too near its irreparable remains.
Two most adjacent storefronts, Tangles Family Salon and PopIndy, also were destroyed by the fire, displacing the two businesses. Burdock Boutique, the fourth business housed in the plaza, suffered heavy smoke and water damage.
All the damaged businesses have been cleared out, and their owners say they’ll wait patiently for word from the fire department before determining how to handle what remnants of their space.
— Caitlin VanOverberghe | Daily Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org