Monticello, Indiana Factory Fire Prompts Evacuation of Nearby Residents

MONTICELLO, Ind. (AP) -- A fire at a patio furniture factory gutted most of the building early Friday and prompted the evacuation of a two-square-mile area around the sprawling factory.

No one was injured in the fire at the Jordan Manufacturing Company, which covers about two city blocks, officials said.

Woodlawn Elementary School, which was in the evacuation area, was closed for the day.

At the height of the fire, 10 fire departments were on the scene in the city about 20 miles north of Lafayette, said Monticello Fire Chief Galen Logan.

Firefighters remained at the scene and the evacuation order was still in place at 8 a.m.

Seven monitoring stations have been set up around the city to determine if the fire released hazardous materials. Sulphuric acid and other chemicals were stored at the plant, Logan said.

Smoke from the fire could be seen for several miles, Logansport's WSAL radio reported. The fire was so intense that several walls were blown out into the street. The south end of the building was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

Some employees were in the building when the fire broke out about midnight, but all were able to escape unharmed, Logan said.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. Representatives of the state fire marshal's office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on the scene.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press