More than 43 hours later, firefighters continue battling Lami-Plast fire

Firefighters are still working to get a fire under control more than 43 hours later.

Posted on Feb. 3, 2014 at 4:10 p.m.

ELKHART – Osolo Township Fire Department crews are still battling a fire at Lami-Plast in Elkhart more than 43 hours after they were initially called to extinguish it.

Elkhart County dispatchers confirmed that firefighters were working at the scene at 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3.

Firefighters' biggest obstacle right now is extinguishing patches of fire buried underneath layers of collapsed materials. Bulldozers have been brought in to help with this problem, Assistant Fire Chief Dean Rentfrow said.

Firefighters called in an excavator from Niblock to help scrape the roof away from the fiberglass on Sunday.

Osolo Township Fire Department, the only remaining crew on the scene of the original 12, has set up a rotation in which four firefighters at a time work three to four hour shifts. The department has been handling the fire on its own since 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2.

"We had to get those other departments in service so they could aid us with other calls we got during the day," Rentfrow said

Rentfrow said that while the department hopes to have the fire under control sometime today, he's not sure whether or not it will be possible.

As of Monday afternoon, firefighters had not determined the cause or origin of the fire. Rentfrow said that while he had an idea of where the fire could have started, he couldn't say without further investigation. He said it's possible the fire department will not have a clear idea of how the fire was caused because of all the damage the building has received.

Two firefighters from Cleveland Township Fire Department were injured Sunday. They were taken to the hospital, where they were treated and released.

Cleveland Township Assistant Chief Kurt Marschke said the firefighters had bruises, and they were taken to the hospital to get checked. The two men are recovering from their injuries.

Firefighters' families have helped them stay warm and fed. Heidi Smith, who works for New Generation Catering, said she has made rounds and has let the firefighters take anything from her food truck.

Rentfrow said the owner of the business brought a television for some of the firefighters at the scene to watch the Superbowl Sunday night.  

Reporter Sharon Hernandez contributed to this report.


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