Investigators searching for cause of Breakwater apartment comple - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Investigators searching for cause of Breakwater apartment complex fire

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NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) – Investigators are working to determine what started a destructive fire Saturday morning at the new $26.5 million Breakwater Apartment Complex on Spring Street.

New Albany Fire Chief Matt Juliot said investigators believe the fire started in a corner unit on either the second or third floor of the “L” shaped building. He said the building was completely unstable as the fire was still burning in the center of the building between the walls and floors, and it could’ve kept burning for days, which is why fire leaders made the decision to tear the building down for the safety of the public.

Juliot said firefighters had to dump millions of gallons of water on the building. The other part of the “L” shaped building sustained major water damage but is still currently standing. Property managers are working with the fire department to see if this half is salvageable.

“Once we have approval for the remaining section that has been heavily water damaged,” said Jill Herron, the senior vice president for property and asset management with Flaherty & Collins Properties, “then we will be able to continue the cleanup process and make sure we get started with that and start the rebuild process," said Jill Herron, senior vice president for property and asset management with Flaherty & Collins Properties.

There is a second apartment building on the property, though it was not damaged, and its residents were not displaced. Herron said maintenance crews are cleaning those residents’ carpets to help get rid of any smell from the fire.

Both Herron and New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said they are thankful no one was hurt. Gahan wanted to remind everyone that the Breakwater is still operational.

“I’d just like to reassure everyone that the project will be rebuilt,” he said. “We’ve had no injuries. We don’t anticipate anything other than the few customers that were planning on moving in early to the Breakwater ... their move in will be delayed.”

Herron said 16 leases were signed for the damaged building. Those people were given the option of moving in to a vacant apartment in the building that was not damaged or waiting for their chosen apartment to be rebuilt.

If the water-damaged building is given the approval to be redone, Herron said that could take six to eight weeks. To completely rebuild the other building could take until December or next January, Herron said. Property managers are still calculating how much the damage will cost the developer.

The fire chief said the investigative report on the cause of the fire should be released this week.

All streets are back open around the complex, but some sidewalks will remain closed through the cleanup process.

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Crews spend over 24 hours on fire scene at Breakwater Apartments, roads remain closed

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