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Last updated: Tue. Apr. 10, 2012 - 07:02 am EDT

Cause of Wayne Metal Protection fire still unclear


Fort Wayne Fire Department officials might not know for weeks what caused a blaze that almost totally destroyed the Wayne Metal Protection building Saturday, a deputy chief said.

Deputy Chief Michael Miller said the department wanted to conduct a thorough investigation before releasing further details about the fire. The heavy damage also could make it harder to identify what caused the fire, he said.

“The amount of damage in there obviously makes things more complicated,” he said.

About two-thirds of the building at 1511 Wabash Ave. had been demolished, Miller said Monday. The financial loss was “substantial,” he said, although authorities have not assessed a dollar amount for the damage.

Public safety officials have, however, determined that the site does not present any immediate environmental hazards. Firefighters refrained from using water for several hours Saturday because they did not know what was inside the building, but air-quality tests didn't show any toxic waste.

The department also is still trying to locate the property's owner, Miller said. Online records maintained by the Allen County Assessor's Office list Brendan Clemens as a possible owner.

The Wayne Metal Protection facility has not been in operation for some time, Miller said.

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