News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 15, 2010

Arson declared cause of fire at Viking Self-Storage

WEST TERRE HAUTE — Arson has been declared the cause of a fire early Sunday that destroyed 34 units in a storage building at Viking Self-Storage in West Terre Haute.

“We know it was arson,” said Fire Chief Jim Holbert of the Sugar Creek Fire Department.

“It appears someone was burglarizing the units, and they set the fire to cover it up,” Holbert said Monday morning, as the investigation continued into the source of the fire. “We had to force entry to every door. It was very labor-intensive.”

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 3:44 a.m. Sunday and they remained there until about 8 a.m. Only a few of the units in the east end of the north storage unit building were on fire when firefighters arrived, and Holbert said the fire was coming through the vents on the roof as it started to spread.

Kenny Pearson, owner of Viking Self-Storage, said all 34 units in the north storage building were gutted. The south building, which has 36 units, was not damaged.

The storage units are constructed of galvanized metal, Pearson said, adding that the fire likely spread through the ceiling insulation from unit to unit. Four of the storage units on the end were narrow 5-feet-by-10-feet spaces, while the other 30 units were 10 feet by 10 feet. The storage units are not equipped with electricity, he said.

All but one of the renters of those units have been contacted, Pearson said.

Many renters found that very little could be salvaged from their units. Charred furniture, tool boxes, toys, books, vinyl records and mattress springs were among the items strewn around the building. The snowfall late Sunday and early Monday also covered much of the debris, making it hazardous to walk around the building.

Pearson said firefighters battling the blaze discovered that some of the units had missing locks. That led investigators to look for evidence of burglary, and they discovered that some units did have missing items, Holbert said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel
NDN Video
Swiftair Loses Contact With Air Algerie Aircraft LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010