Five Points Auction destroyed by fire

Published 11:36 am Thursday, July 16, 2015

Crews from six fire departments battled the fire at Five Points Auction July 9.  (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Crews from six fire departments battled the fire at Five Points Auction July 9. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Six departments responded to a fire at Five Points Auction in Porter Township July 9.

The fire, which firefighters say may have been caused by a wood-burning stove, began around 11:30 p.m. on US-12.

Michael Holderman, Southeast Public Safety Authority (SEPSA) chief, said that the two buildings were beyond repair.

“The east building is a total loss and the west building has enough structural damage that it is a total loss as well,”
he said. “The east building was for storage and a shop. The west building is some content storage for the auction barn and that’s where they held their auctions.”

Holderman would not confirm that the fire was started by the wood-burning stove and said that determining an official cause could take some time.

He did say that auction workers were inside the pole barn when the fire started. He said they were working in the east building when they discovered the fire.

Ronald Smith, who lives next store to the auction house and has worked there from time to time, came out and noticed the fire.

“He had already used all of his fire extinguishers so I grabbed mine and tried to use what I had, but by then the fire was already going,” he said.

Firefighters from SEPSA, Edwardsburg, Cassopolis and Penn Township, as well as from Osolo and Cleveland townships in Indiana battled the fire. Crews used chainsaws to open up parts of the building to fight the fire, which was contained by 1:10 p.m.

Five Points Auction, located at 19659 US-12 in a location known as Five Points, hosts auctions about every two weeks.

When firefighters arrived on the scene they could see heavy black smoke in the air and the structure was fully involved.

“It was just a defensive fire from the beginning. It seemed to spread into the building on the east side, and we were unable to hit that for quite some time because we had electricity in the building and couldn’t get it shut off,” Holderman said.