IFD battles 3-alarm building fire on city’s near west side

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INDIANAPOLIS -- At least 100 firefighters were on the scene of a massive multiple-building fire on the city's near west side. There were no reported injuries from the blaze that broke out shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday in the 500 block of S. Harris Ave.

Bitter temperatures and significant water from fire hoses created a slick environment for emergency crews. Multiple loud booms could be heard coming from inside one of the structures. Only one occupant was inside when the fire broke out. He evacuated safely, according to the Indianapolis Fire Department.

A second and then third alarm were called, indicating the significance of the blaze. Firefighters switched to a defensive attack, meaning their primary effort was to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to nearby structures.

At least two walls collapsed, and fire command ordered a large perimeter area to be evacuated for safety reasons. There were reports of difficulties with water pressure, and IFD said it was working with Citizens Energy to boost water pressure to the area.

There have been reports of audible "pops" inside the building. Officials couldn't say what was causing those, but they could be from a variety of things, including propane or gas tanks. The building used to be the site of a battery foundry, so something left behind could be responsible.

Investigators don't know what caused the fire, and crews were expected to remain at the scene for several hours.

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