Storage closet fire damages Huntingburg gym

Firefighters found a fire in an interior closet at Iron Paradise Fitness Center this morning. (Photo provided)



HUNTINGBURG — A fire chief says people delivering newspapers early this morning noticed smoke coming from the eaves of a Huntingburg gym’s roof and alerted authorities.

The Huntingburg Volunteer Fire Department was called to the Iron Paradise Fitness Center, 514 E. Sixth St., at 2:46 a.m., according to Fire Chief Scott Patberg.

Department Fire Investigator John C. Smith said the first-arriving members of the department made entry and found a fire in an interior storage/utility closet.

Patberg said the closet space contained electronics that included audio and video equipment.

A light-duty extension cord is believed to have shorted and ignited paper towel rolls stored in the closed, according to the fire department officials.

Fire damage was contained to the closet space but there was smoke and water damage throughout the gym, according to the fire department. The business is operated by Ben Brinkman of Huntingburg and the structure is owned by Access Storage, Ferdinand, according to the fire department.

Smith said there was no structural damage to the building, other than the repairs that will be needed in the closet area. Things could have been much worse, he added.

“The (utility closet’s) door was closed,” Smith said. “The fire was starved for oxygen.

Patberg said the oxygen-starved fire was basically smoldering when the department arrived.

Sixteen firefighters and three trucks were on the scene for about two hours.

The Huntingburg Police Department and Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services assisted on site.

On Tuesday morning, at 9:16 a.m., the department responded to what turned out to be a false alarm at The Smile Center, 7120 S. U.S. 231.

Patberg said it was found that some work by heating and plumbing contractors had accidentally triggered the alarm.

Two trucks and 10 firefighters were on the scene for only five minutes.


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