MT. CARMEL, IL (WFIE) - The investigation is underway into what caused the fire that destroyed a large industrial building near Mt. Carmel, Illinois Tuesday.
An Illinois fire marshal arrived in Wabash County Wednesday, and says because the fire was so massive, it will be a long process to figure out what really happened.
Firefighters say the building had mainly been vacant since the microcircuit company left town several years ago.
That's why investigators say it was an unlikely structure to catch fire. It was empty and no utilities were turned on.
Fire Chief Allan Kide says he always knew that if the old CAC building caught on fire, it would be a difficult one to put out.
"The way it was built and chopped up it would have been tough, a lot of walls, a lot of levels, different ceilings," Chief Kide says.
And Tuesday night his suspicions were confirmed. Mount Carmel Fire was alerted around 6:00 a.m. to the blaze with flames soaring 75 feet in the air.
Luckily there was no one inside the building but that's a recent change.
"It wasn't that long ago that they had at least part of the building as apartments for college students, and since then they're not doing that anymore, so thank goodness nobody was in the building," Chief Kide says.
The blaze was so large, the department called on 16 area fire departments to come in for backup.
All together there ended up being 18 tankers, 4 ladder trucks, and over 100 firefighters. Captain Terry McGuire said that made a big difference.
"The water shuttle was very efficient, and that's a hard thing to pull off for a water shuttle. To supply a thousand gallons a minute, and we really appreciate all of the departments," McGuire says.
The state fire marshal arrived in Mt. Carmel to begin the investigation.
They walked around the property to determine an origin, but they already knew the heavy winds caused the blaze to spread to the attic and cause part of the building to collapse.
Since it's a total loss, McGuire says they don't know when they'll have a cause.
"Sometimes it's fairly quick, sometimes it takes several days for him to come up with a conclusion," McGuire says.
And the fire marshal will be returning to the scene Thursday, and will be working alongside the insurance investigator to try and determine a damage amount.
They say from a preliminary look over it appears to be a total loss.