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Businesses evacuated after fire destroys Hammond warehouse

Posted on by SST

Firefighters responded after a fire erupted at Bulk Express trucking company in the early hours on July 27 in Hammond, Ind., according to Chicago ABC affiliate WLS. The blaze lasted for hours, prompting other businesses and residents to evacuate. The fire effectively burned the warehouse to the ground, leaving workers and investigators similarly baffled.

"We don't know how exactly how it started or what on the ground caught fire," said Jeff Smith, Hammond fire chief.

Reports suggest that the fire began when two workers were fixing a valve of an asphalt tanker inside a maintenance shop, located within the building.

The flames then quickly spread to two buildings and another tanker, which was located close to a propane tank.

The two employees in the maintenance shop were the only two in the compound at the time of the fire. One suffered injuries to his back as he attempted to escape the flames. He was transported to a local hospital, but there has been no update on his condition. The other worker appears to have come away unscathed.

One witness reportedly walked in after the fire had started and discovered the blaze.

"I heard a bunch of popping sounds, then I opened the door and seen all the smoke," said Terry Farmer, a local security guard. The flames were about 25 feet high"

Reports indicated that smoke could be seen for miles before firefighters were able to put out the flames.

In addition to the Hammond fire department, the BP fire department assisted in putting out the fire. The flames subsided within an hour of them being called to the scene. The damage is estimated to be a complete loss for Bulk Express.

There was no indication that the warehouse was properly fitted with proper fire suppression materials such as a flame detector, fire extinguisher or smoke detector.

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