Investigators search for source of Brownsburg blaze

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by Megan Trent

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (September 26, 2014) - Investigators spent Friday sifting through the layers of debris left behind from an overnight blaze at a family owned trucking company in Brownsburg.

Seven fire departments and more than 70 firefighters responded to the fire at T.J. Lefter Trucking Company just after midnight. They were on the scene for more than five hours, and the water company was called to increase water pressure in nearby hydrants.

"When you're setting up an aerial operation and each one of those aerials is throwing a thousand gallons a minute of water, that's a large amount of water," says Chief Bill Brown with the Brownsburg Fire Territory.

Brown says it was difficult seeing the family who owns the business watch their property burn to the ground.

"To see him and his wife here on the scene last night and talking with them, it was very emotional," says Brown. "They've been at this location for a number of years, and their life savings and sweat equity went up in flames last night."

The building was empty at the time of the fire.

"Luckily, no one was hurt," says Brown. "That's our first and foremost consideration; everyone goes home safely."

Investigators with the fire department and the insurance companies who insure the structure and the vehicles inside are working together to identify the source of the blaze.

"They both kind of work independent of one another as far as their investigations, but they work collaboratively and discuss it as they move forward," says Brown.

It could be several days, he says, before an exact cause of the fire is known. Judging by where the damage is concentrated, however, Brown says it appears the fire started on the west side the building and spread to the east end.

"We have to kind of surgically go in and start moving pieces of the fire and getting into where the fire originated. It's a forensic science to determine and cause and origin of the fire."

A mechanic who spoke with FOX59 says he was the last person to leave the building around 8:30 p.m. Thursday. He says he is always extremely careful about turning all of the equipment off and making sure the truck engines aren't hot when he leaves.

He says he lost tens of thousands of dollars worth of tools in the fire, and he just wants to know exactly what happened. He says 15 or 16 people worked at the facility.