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Following a fire, a building in downtown Columbus collapses



Columbus, Indiana – On Saturday night, in the middle of subfreezing weather, over 40 firefighters battled a fire in downtown Columbus for more than four hours as flames tore through the ancient structure on 5th Street and caused a significant amount of it to fall into rubble.

No one was inside the building when it caught fire, according to the Columbus Fire Department, but three firefighters did sustain minor wounds.

At 11:50 p.m., according to the fire department, fire crews arrived at the scene of 440 5th Street. The crew arrived and saw clear flames coming from the heavily involved fire. While firemen were still extending hand lines near the back of the building, a part of the structure collapsed.

Firefighters claimed to have entered 422 5th Street to look for people. Although no one was discovered inside the building, workers did report seeing a cat that swiftly left the area.

As the visible fire grew, firefighters were then told to leave the structure. The fire service said that the flames were extinguished using both hand lines and raised water streams from aerial ladder trucks. Then, according to the fire department, a sizable chunk of the fourth-story front of 422 Fifth Street toppled into the street and just missed a firefighter.

After building rubble fell on the ladder from the crumbling structure, a Columbus fire engine had to be removed from the scene. However, there were no firefighters on the ladder at the time.

To assist in putting out the fire, firefighters were dispatched from Seymour and Hope. Nearly 40 firefighters in total, including a few off-duty firefighters, according to the Columbus Fire Department, were involved in the operation.

After around four hours, according to the fire service, the firemen were able to put the fire under control.

The firefighters were grateful that Realty One allowed them access to their place of business and offered them a place to warm up and drink coffee while they battled the blaze in the bitter cold. The Salvation Army also arrived on the site to provide food and drinks to the firefighters.

Due to the impact of the flames on power lines, electricity had to be shut off for a stretch of downtown Columbus. Because of the obstruction caused by the building’s collapsed debris, a section of Fifth Street had to be closed.

According to the fire brigade, both structures were empty and described as being commercial offices with no home occupants.

Investigations continue to determine the fire’s origin.