Massive fire burns Elkhart business to the ground

ELKHART, Ind. – A massive fire destroyed a clothing store, Variedades Marilin located at 2642 South Main Street on Friday. The store was closed at the time, no one was inside and no one was injured in the fire.

“When I came back there was no building,” D’Angelo Gills said he returned on Saturday to check out the damage but the building was practically gone, burnt to the ground.

“There was still a lot of building left when the fire department got here, so I was surprised that they didn’t at least save something,” Gills said.

The fire started around 9 o’clock Saturday night, Gills said he saw the flames from the street, pulled into the parking lot across the street and called 9-1-1.

“I heard a loud pop, I don’t know what it was, but it didn’t sound good,” Gills said. “It was like a baby explosion.”

It took the fire department about three hours to get the flames under control, “They couldn’t get it out through the front so they cut in through the back door.” Gills said, “Then they had to hook up hoses like blocks down the street, it was crazy.”

Main Street was shut down and the power was cut to nearby businesses and residents while the Elkhart Fire Department battled the blaze.

“By the time the owners got here, it was already too bad on fire,” Shasta Mason said they lost everything.

Luis Adan Naverrete of Elkhart is listed as the owner of the building. People who live and work nearby said three businesses operated out of that building; a clothing store, an auto shop and a delivery service.

Located in the front, the store Variedades Marilin sold bridal gowns and formal dresses. In the back of the building, ABC-57 was told there was a garage that was used as an auto repair shop and alongside the wreckage sat a white delivery truck.

“I just feel bad for the people that owned it,” Mason said, “I hope the best for them and I’m sorry.”

A car charred from the flames was on top of a pile of debris as crews went around the area and put up fences to block off the property on Saturday. The two men found some fabric and a few shoes, but everything else was burned beyond recognition.

The fire department listed both the building and the all of contents inside as a total loss. The cause of the fire has not been determined but is still under investigation.

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