The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Cops, courts and fires

July 10, 2013

Lapel fire damages abandoned house, business

LAPEL, Ind. — A fire in an abandoned house caught the roof of a business next door ablaze Wednesday afternoon, causing minimal damage.

The fire occurred in the 900 block of Main Street in Lapel, where businesses including small shops and bars line the street. Multiple residents sat in golf carts or stood nearby to watch firefighters work but hadn’t seen the flames.

Lapel Fire Chief Jeff Passwater said the cause of the blaze was unknown, though lightning with a strong storm that had passed through the area was a small possibility.

Passersby reported the fire at 3:20 p.m. and Lapel-Stony Creek Fire, Pendleton Fire and Wayne Township Fire departments responded.

Passwater said the blaze originated in the second story of the abandoned structure, sitting at 910 Main Street, burning through the side of the building and catching the roof of a consignment store next door on fire.

He said the house had sat empty for about a year, with its utilities already shut off after the basement flooded.

Pamela Blythe, who lives a street over, said the structure has sat empty ever since its owner passed away.

She lived in the house about four years ago and said it was already in bad shape then.

Damage to the Salvage Sisters consignment shop was minimal and Passwater said the fire had already burned through the side of the house on the second story by the time first responders arrived.

“They got it (the fire) knocked down pretty quick,” he said.

The blaze was under control in about 20 minutes, he added, with firefighters focused on hitting hotspots afterward.

No injuries were reported and Passwater said the state fire marshal will be in Lapel Friday to complete an investigation.

Like Dani Palmer on Facebook and follow her @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847.

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