Several counties under Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 11 p.m.

Damages set at $750,000 after fire destroys near east side body shop

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The damage totals are high after a fire ripped through a near east side body shop on early Sunday morning.

The first officers on the scene reported hearing, “crackling sounds,” when they arrived at the Trinity Body Shop at 2402 East Washington Street before dawn.

When it was over, IFD firefighters spent four hours dousing the flames once and for all as fire gutted the shop and destroyed seven vehicles and a bass boat for a total loss of $750,000.

“We heard the fire trucks out front and probably the door being knocked down, the overhead doors, just knocked them in, banging, couple explosions,” said neighbor Ronnie Meyers.

As 17 IFD units fought the blaze, drains were clogged, water ran a foot deep and, for a while, electricity was knocked out to part of the neighborhood.

IFD investigators are still searching for a cause.

Video surveillance signs posted on the building give investigators some expectation that perhaps the system’s hard drives may contain evidence of the fire’s beginnings.

While the cleanup continued into the evening, Meyers hoped more progress could be made than the reclamation of other fire damaged properties just a few doors down from his house.

“Those were a couple years ago and they wasn’t too far apart from one another either, probably a couple weeks apart from one another,” he said. “I just hope that they get it cleaned up. I hope we don’t have to look at it for two years like we did these. That brings property value down and everything.”

There are a handful of abandoned properties in the first block of Keystone and Meyers feels a partially demolished house next door could be an arsonist’s target.

“I got an empty house next to me. I mean, I all the time think, you know, somebody’s gonna get in there and start a fire with that and it wouldn’t take much to get my house on fire, its that close to it.”

Firefighters battled the body shop blaze a few hours after they responded to a house fire on nearby Tacoma Avenue.