Crews battled a restaurant fire that began late Sunday night in downtown Cloverdale.
Rick's Steakhouse and Bakery went up in flames, forcing U.S. 231 to be blocked and causing Putnam County Schools to delay the start of their day by two hours.
Fire officials said the blaze broke out at about 11:30 p.m. 150 firefighters from Cloverdale and surrounding communities fought the fire, RTV6's Julie Pursley reported.
"It spread from there. The old lumber was still in there from the original construction," said Cloverdale Fire Chief Mark Cassida. "It was just a tinderbox."
Police and firefighters worked to protect the building next door, which houses a nursing home. About 30 patients were moved out of the Cloverdale Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center.
"When I went in there, there was smoke in the north wing. It wasn't where you couldn't see, but you could definitely tell there was smoke in there," said Cloverdale Police Chief Charlie Hallam. "Everybody's OK as far as I know."
Traffic on U.S. 231 was blocked in both directions in Cloverdale. Investigators said this is the biggest fire they had seen in years.
"The flames were pretty high -- probably at least 40 to 50 feet in the air," said Putnam County EMT Jarett Query. "When we got here, the smoke was probably 20 feet past the building."
By 6:30 a.m., fire officials had brought the blaze under control.
Nursing home patients were taken to a middle school before being transported to the Putnam County Hospital just outside of Greencastle.
No injuries were reported. State fire officials are investigating.
Copyright 2005 by TheIndyChannel.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.