HAMMOND — A man was taken to the hospital after a blaze engulfed a building in the 6200 block of Hohman Avenue Sunday.
Hammond Fire Chief Jeff Smith told The Times the man was walking out of the building when firefighters arrived on scene around 2 a.m. Sunday.
The man was taken to a hospital, and his condition is unknown.
Crews were on the scene within "10 seconds," as Hammond has a fire station along Hohman, "right next door," Smith said.
Firefighters spent 14 1/2 hours in bitterly cold conditions battling the structure fire, which tore through the building and caused a total collapse, Smith said.
"We probably will never figure out how it started because there's just so much damage. We had a demolition company come in and tear walls down because everything was falling on top of each other and everything was burning underneath," Smith said.
"We had to bring a company in with a backhoe to grab everything and pull everything apart to get water on it."
The building, which housed Tom's Treasure Chest, already had a "major fire" in the back of the building when firefighters arrived, Smith said.
Smith added the thrift store was located in the front of the building, while the back of the building had four to five old cars in it.
Smith said the building is "completely gone," adding it is likely an ice cube due to the weather. Icicles were seen forming on the structure as water doused the smoldering remains in subzero and single-digit weather early Sunday.
Power was knocked out for surrounding homes due to the fire, but was restored around noon. As of Sunday evening, NIPSCO hadn't reported any power outages in Hammond.
The Hammond public works, street and building departments also responded to the scene, Smith said.
"The guys did a great job with the conditions that we were in," Smith said.
Smith thanked those who brought coffee and doughnuts to the scene for firefighters, "that was really helpful because it was cold," he said.