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Fire, explosions destroy businesses in downtown East Chicago

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Sunday, March 10, 2013 - 2:27 pm

EAST CHICAGO — A fire fueled by several explosions destroyed several businesses in downtown East Chicago.

The Times of Munster and the Post-Tribune of Merrillville reported the fire began about 4:30 p.m. and was brought under control by 7:30 p.m.

East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland says one firefighter was injured after being struck by a fire hose.

The building covering half of a city block houses a recycling business and an auto glass company.

Nearby resident Juan Puente says a fireball erupted from the recycling business.

Another nearby resident, Ron Nieblas, says he heard several explosions.

The fire produced black smoke that was visible for miles, drawing a large of onlookers from East Chicago, Hammond and other communities.

Copeland says the cause of the fire is under investigation.