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Fire damages warehouse causing thousands in losses

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A massive warehouse fire in South Bend caused thousands of dollars of damage Friday.

On Saturday, investigators are still working to find out what sparked the flames.

The warehouse is owned by Fun F/X, a theatrical supply company, but one film company was also using the space.

We spoke to the owner of the building as well as a film producer who lost thousands in this fire.

“It’s just, you know, a huge loss”  Tim Richardson, a filmmaker using the warehouse for a shoot, said. “Matt and I were in the basement setting up some lights ahead of time when we heard a rumbling noise.”

He and his Executive Director thought the noises were just the owner moving things around.

“We turned and smoke was pouring down into the basement,” he said.

That’s when they ran out of the building, leaving all of their equipment inside. Richardson said that since his company is small and independent, he does not have insurance. Although some costumes were recovered, he is estimating a loss of $3,000, most of which are irreplaceable.

“A lot of it is what money can’t replace. A lot of the hours put into creating custom costumes, make-up, all those kinds of things,” Richardson said. “The puppets especially that we lost that we already started filming with and are having a hard time getting them replaced and rebuilt in time to continue filming on the current schedule that we have.”

Victor Cao, who owns Fun F/X said he lost everything.

“Much of what I had was irreplaceable. It’s stuff that is no longer made or no longer available or just one-of-a-kind type stuff,” Cao said.

Stuff that might not have even been inside the building if the fire came a day later.

“We were scheduled to move things out today,” he said.

Cao says he planned to move more than half of his stock to a temporary store on Grape Road today for the Halloween season.

“It happened before we even got the truck here,” he said.

Not only did he lose all those valuables, Cao was also building a showroom on the first floor that's now destroyed.

Chris Baker, the Battalion Chief for the South Bend Fire Department said they will most likely be back to extinguish any hot spots that flare up as well. The building is still a danger, he said some parts of it may continue to collapse throughout the day.

For now, the fire department is still investigating the cause of the fire.

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