Thursday, October 23, 2014


The Elkhart Fire Department is at the scene of a fire at Moody Avenue and Sixth Street (Truth Photo by Jennifer Shephard)

Elkhart fire fighters spray water on the back side of a two-story house as they battle a fire on 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Elkhart fire fighters spray water on a house as they battle a fire in a two-story house on in the 100 block of 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Elkhart fire fighters use tools to work through a window at the back of a house as they battle a fire on 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Elkhart fire fighters spray water on a house as they battle a fire in a two-story house on in the 100 block of 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

An Elkhart fire fighter communicates with a fire fighter on the ground as he works on the roof of a two-story house as they battle a fire on 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Elkhart fire fighters use a series of ladders to access the roof of a house as they battle a fire on 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Elkhart fire fighters use a series of ladders to access the roof of a house as they battle a fire on 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Elkhart fire fighters spray water in a window at the back of a house as flames fly through the roof as they battle a fire in a two-story house on in the 100 block of 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

An Elkhart fire fighter uses an ax as he works on the roof of a two-story house as they battle a fire on 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Heavy smoke escapes from the roof of a house as Elkhart fire fighters spray water inside as they battle a fire in a two-story house on in the 100 block of 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Elkhart fire fighters spray water on the back side of a two-story house as they battle a fire on 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Elkhart fire fighters use tools on the back side of a two-story house as they battle a fire on 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

An Elkhart fire fighter uses a tool to open up a window at a house as crews battle a fire on 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Elkhart fire fighters use tools to pull down a section of roofing at the back of a house as they battle a fire on 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

An Elkhart fire fighter looks at fire fighters on the ground as he works from the extended ladder as crews battle a fire on 6th Street near Moody Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)
Firefighters on scene at house fire west of downtown Elkhart

Posted on Nov. 13, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 13, 2013 at 9:14 a.m.

ELKHART — Firefighters could not determine the cause of a fire that severely damaged a house west of downtown Elkhart Wednesday morning.

The Elkhart Fire Department responded at about 8:40 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, to 146 N. Sixth St. to reports of a fire.

Firefighters found a two-story house, with fire and smoke coming out from the back of the building.

Fire Investigator Tony Balzano said crews went in to make sure nobody was in the house and didn’t find anyone.

Fire crews attempted to do an interior attack initially, but because the fire was so intense part of the roof collapsed. Firefighters were able to get out of the structure without harm and went to defensive mode, tackling flames from the exterior, Balzano said.

The fire was under control within 40 minutes, said Battalion Chief Wes Johnson. Four fire engines, a ladder engine, two ambulances and 23 firefighters responded to the scene, he said.

Balzano said he determined that the fire started in the attic space of the rear entry of the house.

He was not able to investigate the area of the origin of the fire thoroughly because the structure was unsafe.

The house, owned by Unique Management, was vacant, with no electricity or gas, so he ruled the possibility of a fire caused by an electrical malfunction or by natural causes out. Jennifer Allen, who lives in the 100 block of Sixth Street, said she had not seen that house occupied in the last few months.

She said there have been about six house fires in her neighborhood over the last two years.

Part of W. Lexington Avenue between Vistula Street and Riverside Drive was closed because of the fire. Sixth street was also closed while the fire department worked on the scene. The street has been reopened.