Cause of Belmont warehouse fire ‘undetermined’

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INDIANAPOLIS – The ongoing investigation into the June fire at a warehouse on Belmont Avenue hit a brick wall—and investigators say the cause is “undetermined.”

The fire ripped through the warehouse on June 15, 2013, at 220 S. Belmont, prompting a large firefighting effort. But the exact cause of the fire was elusive–and it appears it will remain that way. The Indianapolis Division of Homeland Security, Indianapolis Fire Department, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, National Response Team and ATF Special Agents from the Columbus Field Division made the announcement Wednesday.

The agencies have been investigating the fire for months. According to Homeland Security Chief Gary Coons, the “undetermined” designation is used “when the cause cannot be proven to an acceptable level of certainty or if multiple causes could not be eliminated.”

Coons said scene examination has been completed, and added that the investigation would remain open to conduct additional interviews and follow up on any leads.

According to ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Christopher “CJ” Hyman, investigators determined that the fire started on the west side of the warehouse.

“Due to the extent of damage and the inability to eliminate all accidental or deliberate causes, a definitive finding cannot be made,” he said.

In September, the city asked neighbors for help in identifying debris from the fire. There were also concerns about the fire’s impact on air quality.

More than 20 law enforcement and regulatory agencies were involved in the investigation.