Agencies provide latest update on Belmont Ave. fire

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INDIANAPOLIS – Investigators from several different agencies provided updates Monday afternoon in the fire on Belmont Avenue.

According to Capt. Rita Burris of the Indianapolis Fire Department, the fire is still smoldering. Speaking on behalf of the Department of Code Enforcement, Burris said the building is 60 percent collapsed. She anticipated that demolition of the structure could start as soon as Tuesday. Code enforcement officials are ready to inspect the interior as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Officials are in contact with the building’s owner about the situation and demolition work. Indianapolis Metropolitan police said Belmont Avenue is open to traffic. The warehouse remains off limits to anyone but emergency crews and investigators.

Burris said the Environmental Protection Agency continues to monitor the area for air quality and substances ranging from asbestos to metals. Residents are being told to limit their exposure to smoke, taking actions such as keeping their windows closed.

Ken Bacon of IFD said firefighters are still dealing with hotspots. Bacon said IFD crews will continue to rotate and evaluate the situation every four hours as needed. He added that IFD crews will remain at the site as long as they’re needed to help support the investigation.

Dave Coulson of the ATF said a national response team of about 20 people has been activated to investigate the fire. The team includes officials from several law enforcement agencies along with a chemist and other forensic experts.

Coulson said investigators are still probing the cause of the fire. They hope to move to the inside of the warehouse Tuesday in order to figure out the fire’s origin.