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Fire destroys abandoned commercial building in Hammond

Fire destroys abandoned commercial building in Hammond


HAMMOND — A fire ravaged a commercial building Wednesday afternoon as several firefighters battled the blaze for an hour in freezing conditions.

Around 3 p.m., Hammond firefighters responded to heavy smoke coming from a two-story building at 5533 Calumet Ave., Hammond North Battalion Fire Chief Bernie Grisolia said.

Firefighters were met with heavy flames shooting from the first floor to the roof of the brick building.

“The structure was fully involved,” Grisolia said. “There was a very fast response and our firefighters quickly extinguished the flames with as big as the fire was. I’ve got to hand it to the guys, they’re working hard out there.”

The former business building was unoccupied and there were no utilities connected to the structure. The building was scheduled for demolition by the city, but due to the fire damage, demolition is planned to begin Wednesday night after firefighters ensure there are no hot spots in the wreckage.

The brick walls and quick action helped prevent the fire from spreading to a neighboring business front, Grisolia said.

Michael Opinker, Hammond Fire Department Chief inspector, was at the scene to investigate. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, he said.

NIPSCO, emergency medical technicians, city staff and demolition vehicles were also on scene.

"We’ve got to tip our hats off to these guys," Opinker said. "We’ve got a great fire department. They did an excellent job in this cold weather. All departments came together quickly tonight, including EMT’s, code enforcement and demolition."

No one was injured in the fire.


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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts and investigative news. She is a graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology. 219-933-4194,

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