Investigators in LaGrange to try and nail down cause of downtown - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

Investigators in LaGrange to try and nail down cause of downtown fire

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Investigators from the Indiana state fire marshal's office worked in LaGrange Wednesday, looking into the cause of a roaring fire that destroyed two downtown buildings and damaged others.

It's a blaze with costs that can't be measured in dollars alone.

A mist of rain fell on Lagrange during the noon hour, too late to save a cluster of buildings right off the courthouse square that are now in shambles.

A Family Dollar store collapsed and is now a pile of rubble.

Next to it, Gould's--a sports apparel operation-- sold athletic wear and t-shirts.

It's also in bad shape with structural damage and is undoubtedly destined for a date with the wrecking ball.

Lots of people were standing around across the street, taking it all in.

Some had been on scene for a good part of the past 24 hours, as the fire started Tuesday morning.

We talked to bystanders sorry to see the mess made in the downtown, and we spoke to the local volunteer fire chief about the destruction and what's next.

"The state fire marshal's office, a private investigator and insurance companies have all checked in this morning between 9 and 10 o'clock. And that's where we are now. We had a backhoe come in last night to get the worst of the hot spots put out. Right now, we don't know what the cause is, so I can't speculate on that," said Dave Elick, LaGrange's volunteer fire chief.

"That's where I did a big part of my shopping, especially when my little girl was a baby, diapers, toys. It will leave a big hole," said Meghin Rosendaul, who was referring to the Family Dollar that was destroyed.

A Chicago Joes pizza restaurant nearby sustained smoke damage.

Restoration and any rebuilding will take months to complete.

Something that can't be replaced is the historic value of some of the old buildings that were originally constructed between 1900 and 1920.

Fighting the big fire caused the town's water tower to run dry.

A boil advisory remains in effect, but should be lifted by the end of the week.

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