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[IDHS] New Carlisle Fire Undetermined; Too Much Damage to Provide Cause Says State Fire Marshal
Start Date: 8/21/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 8/21/2014
Entry Description
New Carlisle Fire Undetermined; Too Much Damage to Provide Cause Says State Fire Marshal

The fire at K-Fex in New Carlisle that caused the death of a firefighter and injured another has officially been ruled as undetermined.

Due to the amount of damage to the structure, a definitive cause of the fire could not be established. Reasonable accidental ignition sources could not be ruled out, but also could not be proven as the cause of the fire.

“There was simply too much damage to the structure to provide a different ruling,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. “At this time we do not suspect any foul play, but there is not enough evidence to list the fire as accidental. A ruling of undetermined is not unusual. While we would have liked to provide a more definitive final determination, the evidence has led us to this point.” The State Fire Marshal is part of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS).

Scene examination showed flames moved from the south building to the north building and into the attic. The attic of the north building was painted metal, which allowed the fire to burn undetected in the space above the firefighters. The direct flames to the wooden trusses caused the roof to collapse. Structural wiring revealed flame damage. According to an electrical engineer from the insurance investigative team, the electrical conductors could not be ruled out as possible ignition sources.

As part of the investigation, interviews were conducted with approximately 15 individuals including firefighters on the scene, K-Fex employees, and owners. The interviews were used for information and evidence gathering on the fire and the building itself. Excavation crews were brought in to assist in evidence gathering. Due to the collapse of the roof, heavy machinery was needed to dig through the debris in the search for evidence and other information.

Partners in the investigation were IDHS/State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Kankakee Township Fire Department, LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department, New Carlisle Police Department, and insurance companies.

In the fire, New Carlisle Fire Department Assistant Chief Jamie Middlebrook lost his life after the roof of the building collapsed. Firefighter Matt O’Donnell suffered a broken leg.

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Media Contact
IDHS public information officer on duty at 317-234-6713 or pio@dhs.in.gov.
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    Homeland Security, Indiana Department of

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