INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - UPDATE 11:30 A.M.: The Indianapolis Fire Department says it could take weeks for investigators to rule out possible causes for Saturday's three alarm fire on the city's near west side.
Belmont remains closed between Washington and Oliver and officials ask drivers to avoid the area.
Investigators hope to begin interior investigation Monday, but the structure must be deemed safe before investigation begins.
Firefighters will work on Sunday to put out hot spots flaring up in debris. Materials must be removed for those to be eliminated and to allow investigators to go inside the facility.
UPDATE 7 A.M.: Evacuations have been lifted near the fire scene. Residents previously told to leave in blocks east of the fire may return to their homes. Fire officials are asking for those who are sensitive to smoke to please keep their windows closed.
Nearly 200 firefighters from multiple fire companies battled the three alarm building fire that lasted eight hours Saturday.
IFD, Wayne Township Fire, Speedway Fire and the Decatur Township Fire Department battled the fire in the 2200 block of Oliver Avenue at the Nationwide OTR Recyclers building. The fire started shortly before 1 p.m. on the city's southwest side.
The fire was marked under control eight hours later, but is expected to smolder for days.
According to fire crews, the 440,000 square foot building is occupied by the recycling company, a bicycle shop, a pallet recycling and a roofing company.
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Around 5:30 p.m., IFD crews said they were still battling the blaze. 30 propane tanks, burning pallets, tires, vehicles, and other materials filled the area with black smoke that could be seen for miles.
"It's still burning," said Ato McTush with the Indianapolis Fire Department. "It will be burning for a while."
Michael Pruitt with the Wayne Township Fire Department says there were reports of several explosions inside the building. Crews blocked off the area to battle the fire.
Firefighters asked residents to avoid the area of Oliver Avenue and Washington Street as congestion would prevent emergency responders from accessing the scene.
24-Hour News 8 crews say firefighters moved everyone in the area five blocks east of the fire due to smoke. Up to 100 homes in neighborhoods east of the fire had been evacuated by 5 p.m.
Buses took residents to an IMPD gym at 551 King. IndyGo buses also arrived to take evacuees to shelters. IMPD, IFD and Animal Control were working to safely evacuate residents, according to IFD. Additionally, evacuees were taken to the American Red Cross at 441 East 10th Street.
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IFD says there were multiple collapses in the building -- 60 percent of the building was reported destroyed around 8:45 p.m. Small explosions and structural collapses were a major concern for firefighters, IFD says. Crews also worked to cool a 500 gallon propane tank in the area.
Train tracks in the area were shut down Saturday afternoon. According to IFD, the airport was notified as well, due to heavy smoke filling the sky.
Airport Fire arrived to the scene around 3:30 p.m. to assist with foam.
Marion County Health was also at the fire, working to monitor air quality in the area.
Three firefighters suffered non-life threatening injuries during the fire, according to IFD. A tweet from Wayne Township said incident commanders began a rehab process for firefighters Saturday evening -- fresh crews were brought in to battle the fire, as it had been hours since it started.
IFD reported around 8:45 p.m. that fire crews had stopped the spread of the blaze and had marked the fire under control.
HOW TO HELP
Anyone wishing to donate water or Gatorade for firefighters can bring those to IFD Station 5 at 450 W. 21st St.
A press conference is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday evening. Stay tuned for more details on this fire.
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