Midwestern Steel Fabricators destroyed by fire

2013-12-17T08:12:00Z 2013-12-17T23:37:13Z Midwestern Steel Fabricators destroyed by fireLauri Harvey Keagle lauri.keagle@nwi.com, (219) 852-4311 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Midwestern Steel Fabricators was destroyed by a stubborn fire Monday night that had firefighters at the scene putting out hot spots some 12 hours later.

Chief Fire Inspector Michael Opinker said crews were called around 8 p.m. to the building at 1745 165th St. The 22 employees of the business left for the day at 3:30 p.m.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Opinker said the fire appeared to move up a wall and move between the roof and the rubber insulation.

"We hit it from the top, then we'd take guy inside to hit it from the inside," Opinker said. "But when the top wasn't getting water, it flared up so we'd have to hit it from the top again. That happened about four different times."

Opinker said the fire under the roof, the height of the building and strong winds blowing from the west made the blaze difficult to battle.

Most of the crews left the scene around 4 a.m., but Opinker said at least one truck remained at Midwestern Steel Fabricators after 8 a.m. to continue putting out hot spots.

Firefighters were not able to cut holes in the roof to get at the blaze as they would in more traditional settings, he said.

The extent of the fire coupled with the amount of water used to douse the flames made for a total loss of the building, Opinker said.

Opinker said he feels for the owner and employees, with the loss of the business coming at the holidays.

"It's a tough time," he said. "We had some employees stopping by when we were out there."

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