Crews battle night fire at Heartland

Saturday, November 8, 2014
Firefighters investigate for possible external damage along the west wall of Heartland Automotive Friday evening. (photo by KYLE HOLLINGER)

Local fire crews were called to the scene of a fire Friday evening at Heartland Automotive, 300 S. 10th St., Greencastle.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene to reports of heavy smoke at 9:36 p.m., with scanner traffic indicating that employees had been evacuated at approximately 9:40.

At 9:45 p.m., Greencastle Fire Chief Bill Newgent indicated it was not merely smoke, but a "working fire."

Smoke was pouring out of one of the smokestacks along the western edge of the building until after 10 p.m. and the smell of paint could be picked up in the parking lot, but no fire or smell of smoke could be detected from the exterior.

Newgent told the Banner Graphic the blaze originated in the facility's paint room. The sprinkler system in the area contained the fire until firefighters arrived to extinguish it completely.

No cause has been determined, but damages are estimated at $400,000. Electronics and robotics systems in the area were most heavily damaged. There was no indication of structural problems from the fire.

"They're working hard to get things going again and get things back in service so they can paint parts again," Newgent said.

Heartland will be investigating the fire internally before following up with GFD officials on Monday.

"Everything is pointing to an accidental cause," Newgent said. "They're just not sure what happened."

By 10:15 p.m., employees had been removed from standing outside in 39-degree temperatures and moved to a secure, warm location on the Heartland property.

As of 11 p.m., discussions indicated the fire had been extinguished, with talk turning to securing the building's sprinkler system.

The final crews were released from the scene at 11:52 p.m.

Operation Life crews on the scene reported no injuries to employees, although a number of them had been admitted into the backs of ambulances to stay warm. No firefighters or civilians were injured in the incident.

All Greencastle firefighters were dispatched to the scene, along with Fillmore, Cloverdale, Bainbridge and Madison Township fire departments, as well as Greencastle Police and the Putnam County Sheriff's Department.

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  • Very happy that no one was hurt.

    -- Posted by momma-j on Sat, Nov 8, 2014, at 8:13 AM
  • Sounds like this could have been much worse...

    -- Posted by keith on Sat, Nov 8, 2014, at 6:05 PM
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