Elkhart's Quality Paints building destroyed by overnight fires

After a fire at Quality Paint in Elkhart was extinguished Wednesday night, firefighters were called back to the scene early Thursday morning, April 10, for a second fire.

Posted on April 10, 2014 at 6:15 p.m.

ELKHART — Firefighters have not determined the cause of a fire that destroyed a building just west of Elkhart on Thursday, April 10, in the early morning.

Baugo Township Fire Department was initially called at about 8:22 p.m. Wednesday to Quality Paint and Prestained Finishes Inc., 28827 Old U.S. 33, for reports of a fire.

Baugo Township Assistant Chief Brian Gonzales said the fire was of smaller size and firefighters worked to have it under control by 10:44 p.m. The building had moderate damage.

However, fire units were called to the same location Thursday at about 2:45 a.m., according to a dispatcher from the Elkhart County 911 Center.

Other fire departments, including Cleveland Township, Concord Township and Wakarusa, were called for mutual aid. Firefighters battled the flames for a couple hours.

Gonzales said the building's roof collapsed, making it difficult for firefighters to tackle the flames inside the structure. The building was a total loss.

Jesse Thrash, the owner of the business, was at the scene of the fire Thursday afternoon, talking with fire inspectors and insurance agents.

Thrash said no one was working in the building at the time the fire started. He said the business employs about eight people, and right now he is looking to relocate them.

Gonzales said the investigation will be led by the Indiana State Fire Marshal's office. He said the debris will have to be removed before investigators can look inside to try to determine a cause.

Gonzales said he couldn't say how the second fire started or whether it was caused by a hot spot.

Elkhart Truth reporter Sharon Hernandez contributed to this report.


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