The Elkhart Fire Department continues to investigate the cause of a fire that destroyed one building and heavily damaged two others in downtown Elkhart early Sunday morning. Three residents who lived on the second floor of the apartment house on East Street were injured during the fire. Elkhart fire investigator Kent Stouder said Robert Nicodemis, Brian Higginbotham and Sherry Higginbotham were taken to Fort Wayne Parkview Hospital to be treated and were in critical condition on Monday. However, they were not listed in the hospital as of Tuesday afternoon.
Two first responders were also injured while working on the scene Sunday morning. Capt. Jeff Josselyn and Paramedic Lt. David Richter were transported to Elkhart General Hospital, where they were treated and released.
The Elkhart Fire Department responded to the blaze Sunday around 2 a.m. at East Street, on the block between State and Division streets. Stouder said it was determined the origin of the fire was the old Tony’s Shoe Store building, located between the LifeLine Center Building and an apartment house. The cause of the fire had not been determined as of Tuesday afternoon.
“We may never know because of the extent of the damage,” Stouder said.
He said the owner of the old Shoe Store building told him he had been in the process of renovating it, but it had no electricity or water, nor did the building show signs of progress prior to the fire.
The road on East Street between State and Division remained closed to traffic Tuesday.