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Cause, origin of apartment building fire undetermined

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Investigators are trying to determine what caused a three-alarm fire that destroyed a newly built apartment apartment building downtown Friday night.

Indianapolis Fire Capt. Rita Burris said investigators remained on the scene Saturday and had not determined the cause or the origin of the blaze that caused $3.5 million in damage and sent black smoke wafting into the sky.

The fire destroyed a four-story, 60-apartment building under construction in the 16 Park development by the Indianapolis Housing Agency. The building was due to open this fall.

16 Park, which was expected to cost a total of $34 million, is replacing the former Caravelle Commons housing development north of East 16th Street between Central and College avenues.

Lt. Larry Tracy says one firefighter was injured and was treated for a possible broken wrist.

Caravelle Commons was a 65-unit, low-income-housing property built in 1975. The seven-acre property had become a magnet for crime, with dead-end streets and fenced-in apartment homes surrounding crowded parking lots. But the Indianapolis Housing Agency was betting the new project would  jump-start more interest in the area.

“We really think this is a transformational development that’s really going to change that part of the neighborhood and that part of the city,” said Bruce Baird, IHA’s director of strategic planning and development, told IBJ last year.

IHA bought the complex in March 2009 from the Near North Development Corp., which took over the Caravelle not-for-profit complex in 2003. Near North stepped in to refinance, renovate and stabilize the property with an eye toward eventually selling it to a more appropriate owner.

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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