CONNERSVILLE, Ind. --
A huge blaze threatened the city of Connersville on Sunday after an abandoned factory at the center of town was likely set on fire, police said.
Crews from four counties were called in just before 4 p.m. to battle the blaze at the former Creative Fixtures factory, a shelving company.
"A large explosion happened," said Connersville Police Chief Dave Counceller. "I don't live far from here, and it shook the ground pretty good. I came out and saw a big smoke plume."
The original fire started several smaller fires and threatened to spread to a company that recycles flammable solvents.
No injuries were reported, but residents within a four-block radius were evacuated from their homes because of thick smoke. The structure, filled with a lot of wooden beams, burned fast and hot.
Police said they suspect arson in the blaze. Witnesses said they saw children running from the scene after the fire began.
"We've been having trouble with kids going in there and playing and starting some fires," Counceller said. "Recently, the city boarded up the place so nobody could get in there, but it looks like somebody got in there, because there's not gas or anything going to the building."
The building had been home to several businesses over the years.
"It's just sad to see, because it's part of Connersville history," said witness Pehry Holmlund. "My grandpa worked in that building back in the '50s and '60s. It's sad to see it be burned down."
The state fire marshal will determine if the fire was intentionally set.
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