The devastating weekend fire near downtown Elkhart that destroyed three buildings and sent three people to the hospital is still under investigation.
Officials aren't sure what sparked the fire, but are not ruling out that it could be suspicious.
Elkhart Fire Division Chief Kent Stouder says the fire definitely started at the old Tony's Shoe Store on East Street and spread quickly to the Polk Lifeline Youth in Christ Center and a three-unit apartment complex next door.
All that's left of the shoe repair building is some bricks and a lot of debris.
Stouder says the building had been condemned but was purchased in a tax sale. He says the man who bought the property had recently gotten into trouble with Code Enforcement because he was caught living there and the building is not up to code.
Officials have talked with the man that owned the run-down building and say he did have propane tanks inside.
The man told investigators he was at the building around 8 p.m. the night the fire started because he had some of his belongings inside.
There were no utilities running to that building and Stouder says the man also used florescent lights inside and also admitted to sometimes tapping into the electricity from the Youth Center next door.
Stouder says finding the exact cause of the fire won't be easy.
"Hopefully we can come up with a determination,” he says. “The building was severely damaged. A lot of evidence was lost. There wasn't a lot to look at. That's my biggest thing, I like to have something to look at and there wasn't much here when I started.”
Stouder says whatever the cause, the fire spread fast. When firefighters arrived they heard screaming and found three people trapped on the first floor of the apartment building next door.
Neighbors say one of those people rescued was a man in his 70s, along with a woman and her ex-husband.
They are all in stable, but critical condition at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne.
Stouder says the man that owned the old shoe store building did not have insurance and neither did the owner of the apartment building or any of the renters.
What's left of the apartment building on the corner of Division and East Streets is in bad shape and will have to be torn down.
The Polk Lifeline Youth Center did have insurance. The Center's Executive Director says it's too soon to know if they will rebuild.
More than 50-years ago the Polk Lifeline Youth Center in Elkhart opened up and has helped thousands of kids stay off the streets and out of trouble. Now it's the Center that's in trouble after a devastating fire. But the community is responding in a huge way to their call for help.
"It breaks my heart," says Kent Miller as he holds back tears after seeing first-hand the damaged Lifeline Center.
"I was here when we put the addition on," says Miller pointing to the gym.
Miller was a former volunteer at the center that worked there for 10 years.
"This ministry has helped so many young people get their lives turned around in a positive way."
In an average week, some 250 kids walked through these doors and considered the center their second home.
Sunday's fire caused the center's roof to collapse and pictures WSBT received from fire investigators show major water damage inside. The basement of the building is completely flooded. Firefighters pumped approximately 1 million gallons of water into the building to put the fire out.
Brandon Maxwell and Christian Attlesey who help run the high school boys programs there were also standing outside the center wondering if anything could be salvaged.
"We're all concerned because this is where we go every day and this is where the kids go every day, but we're not going to miss a beat," says Attlesey
In fact the Center's executive director Darrell Peterson's phone has been ringing off the hook with other churches and agencies offering to help.
"I've had messages from South Africa, all across the United States, from people who care about this ministry and just letting us know "we're praying for you and what can we do for you," says Peterson.
While the damage is being assessed, The Lifeline Center offices are being moved to the YMCA building in Elkhart.
But most importantly the kids clubs will continue, with elementary programs moving to Mary Beck School and high school programs resuming at the Roosevelt Center.
"It's just a building and Lifeline is about the people," stresses Maxwell, who started interning at Lifeline a month ago.
People that believe God has a plan for the center and that it will return some day better, bigger, stronger.
"It's humbling to think of the love that so many people in this community have for this organization," says Peterson.