LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — An employee at a Lafayette business is still recovering at an Indianapolis burn unit after an explosion left him badly injured.
Meanwhile, investigators continue to look into what caused the fire and the extent of the damage.
As News 18 previously reported, one employee was inside the building at the time and was badly burned.
Authorities identified him today as 41-year-old Steve Hansell. He was airlifted to a burn unit at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, where he's in critical but stable condition.
A fence now surrounds the burnt-out remnants of Indy Scale, 3535 Coleman Court, after an explosion Monday morning.
Fire, insurance and utility investigators will look into what caused the explosion and the extent of the losses.
"It is our job to step back, secure the scene ... and then at that point get all the interested parties involved si everybody gets to view and investigate the same set of circumstances that took place," says Lafayette Assistant Fire Chief Brian Alkire.
That means the charred remains will stay in place for the near future.
Alkire wants to know if the fire was caused by a gas explosion.
"There's sewer gas, there's natural gas, there's propane gas, there's also some compressed gases used for welding that were in the building," he says.
The most challenging part of the investigation is the complexity.
"We do have multiple gases that are used in processes that typically you wouldn't have in a residential setting," Alkire says. "The size of the structure plays into that."
Lafayette hasn't seen a fire of this size and scale for years. Alkire credits that to the fire department's fire prevention and code enforcement efforts.
"We strive to maintain high performance in our commercial buildings of doing fire inspections to try to prevent some of this from taking place and that's really key to this community why we have a low rate of commercial fires is because the fire department's strong enforcement division going out there, identifying hazards before they happen and taking care of them," he says.
The fire department is also sifting through witness statements and surveillance video as they determine the cause of the fire.
A spokesperson for Indy Scale says the company is waiting for the investigation to finish before deciding how to move forward.