Evansville Fire Department Reveal Cause of October’s Massive Morton Avenue Warehouse Fire
Just over four months after a massive fire leveled the former Morton Avenue Warehouse in downtown Evansville, investigators with the Evansville Fire Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives have announced what caused the fire to start in the first place.
Massive Fire Destroys Warehouse in Downtown Evansville
Fire crews arrived on the scene at the corner of North Morton Avenue and East Franklin Street just before 4:45 AM on October 17th, six minutes after Vanderburgh County Central Dispatch received a call reporting smoke in the area. Crews initially confirmed smoke was coming from the building, but that no fire was visible. Less than 10 minutes later, the fire was located and quickly spread through the entire building. The blaze sent flames shooting into the Evansville sky that could be seen from several blocks away, including our offices on the sixth floor of the Fifth Third Bank building.
Smoke from the fire was spotted by residents from surrounding southern Indiana and western Kentucky counties as far as 30 miles away. Many of which shared pictures of what they saw on social media.
Additionally, the heat from the fire was so intense, it was detected by National Weather Service radar.
Cause of Morton Avenue Warehouse Fire Revealed
In a press release provided to local media on Friday, Evansville Fire Department Division Chief and Public Information Officer, Mike Larson announced the results of the investigation into what caused the fire to begin in the first place.
...it is the opinion of ATF Certified Fire Investigators, as well as other participating investigators, that the fire originated on the 3rd floor, east end of the north warehouse, as the result of open flame ignition to available combustible material.
The fire cause is classified as incendiary. Although, it was reported the fire was set to keep warm, the occupants were not authorized to be inside of the structure at the time of the fire.
No Charges to Be Filled Against Those Responsible
In a statement to 14News, Evansville Police Department Public Information Officer, Anna Gray, the individuals responsible for the blaze will not be charged even though they weren't authorized to be inside, they did not start the fire with the intention of burning down the building, therefore they do not meet the criteria to be charged with arson.