Gas leak ruled out as primary cause in Lindberg Village fire

Wabash Township Fire Chief Ed Ward said investigators do not believe gas was the primary cause of Friday's fire destroying five homes in the Lindberg Village neighborhood.

Posted: Jul 16, 2019 12:07 AM
Updated: Jul 16, 2019 9:52 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Wabash Township Fire Chief Ed Ward said investigators do not believe gas was the primary cause of Friday's fire destroying or damaging five homes in the Lindberg Village neighborhood.

A finalized investigation was expected Monday night, but so far, the State Fire Marshal's office has not released it's report.

While Chief Ward said he still doesn't know what the cause is, they don't believe it was gas.

In fact, they don't even believe gas was the main thing that caused it to spread so quickly.

"We believe the fire spread so easily not necessarily because of gas, but because of the very close proximity of the structures to one another and the lightweight construction of the homes," said Ward.

Those are some of the same concerns Lindberg Village neighbors have had since Friday and the issue is getting the attention of West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis Dennis too.

He said he is concerned about how close modern day homes are built to one another.

"It takes you by surprise when it's that close to your home; when you walk out of the garage and the neighborhood is on fire," said Trevor Landrum.

Homes damaged in the Lindberg Village Neighborhood Fire are getting work done.

This work includes new roofs, new siding and new gutters, but neighbors next door to the broken homes are wondering what happened.

"It's really hard to put into words," said Landrum.

Landrum was home when the fire started.

He's lived there for more than a decade and didn't question how close the homes are built to one another until Friday's fire.

"It puts a lot of that stuff into perspective now," said Landrum. "A lot of things the normal person would not think about when purchasing a home."

Homes started being built in the neighborhood back in 2001.

James Krotz moved in three months ago.

"On either side, we really didn't consider how close it was," said Krotz. "This fire has made me think a little bit different."

It made West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis think differently too

"The houses in some case may just be arms width apart," said Dennis. 

News 18 measured the distance between the homes damaged to be about 13 to 15 feet apart.

"And when you look how quickly the fire traveled it seems to the uneducated eye that had to be a contributing factor," said Dennis.

Krotz offered his advice to those home hunting.

"Definitely have that discussion with your Realtor," said Krotz. "It wasn't something we considered initially, but it will definitely inform our decision moving forward.

Mayor Dennis said the proximity of homes in West Lafayette has the potential to be an agenda item during city council meetings.

Again, the State Fire Marshal's report on the cause of the fire was expected Monday, but it has not been released yet.

As soon as that's available, you can find it on-air and online.

A link to our previous story can be found here. 

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