Emergency crews respond to large fire at old factory in LaPorte

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 9:16 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAPORTE, Ind. (WNDU) - Emergency crews responded to a large fire early Wednesday morning in LaPorte.

Crews were called around 12:30 a.m. to a fire at the old American Rubber building on Brighton Street. The smoke has been slow to clear, as crews we’re still battling the blaze late Wednesday afternoon.

According to an update from fire officials on Thursday morning, the fire is now under control and the Indiana State Fire Marshal is investigating.

Drone photos taken early in the day show flames shooting high enough to be seen for miles. The flames were so persistent they’ll likely be fought for days, according to LaPorte Mayor Tom Dermody. “You have that type of product, that much alcohol product, these guys have been doing this, and they’ll be here tonight, they’ll be here tomorrow, so you keep your thoughts and prayers with the firefighters that they stay safe.”

The unusual thing about the fire at the old American Rubber building is that it is being fueled by hand sanitizer.

“We knew that they were storing it here. They did not have the fire suppression system in operation, we knew that but they were under orders to have somebody here 24/7, that did not happen,” said LaPorte Fire Chief Andy Snyder.”

The old American Rubber building stands two stories tall and takes up about two city blocks.

In the beginning, the fire was largely fought with aerial apparatus.

“We had a number of walls and floors collapse, so we have been in a defensive mode for quite some time, just trying to reach it from a distance to make sure we don’t put our personnel in danger,” Snyder explained.

The breakthrough came when excavators moved debris so water could reach the flames burning below.

The fire was said to be something that was prevent able.

“We need those businesses, those Individuals to follow through with what they say they’re going to do and follow through with that,” Dermody stressed. “We don’t accept this. LaPorte is not a dumping ground.”