9:06 AM EST, February 12, 2013
MISHAWAKA – Firefighters Tuesday evening were still tackling the fire at the old RMG Foundry.
The flames out are, but hot spots are still the issue.
More than 200 RVs, boats and collectible cars went up in flames and the building next to the central fire station at 9th and Union Streets burned to the ground.
After dousing the hot spots, investigators have the huge task of trying to figure out what started the fire Monday night.
It's called one of the biggest fires in Mishawaka in decades.
Investigators say it could be days before it's safe enough to go inside the building to start the process of determining what ignited the massive fire.
Shortly before 5:30 p.m., firefighters from 3 departments were called to the scene.
Wind gusts over 40 miles per hour made it rough for firefighters to battle the blaze.
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Mishawaka Fire Chief Dale Freeman estimates 200 to 250 boats, RVs and cars, which were stored in the building, were destroyed.
The roof collapsed and the walls caved in.
Hundreds of people lined the street as the building burned.
Hundreds of others could see and hear the commotion from their homes or businesses.
"We came by to see the remnants," said Mike Ryno. I'd never seen a fire that went up and came back down in. It was many stories high."
"I've never seen flames that high," added Vickie Gabbard.
Fuel tanks inside the storage facility exploded.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but people who saw the fire say it's something they will never forget.
"It was like a meteorite shower," said Sherry Gunnett, who lives near the fire scene. "My husband was out here just stomping things on the ground, trying to keep the fires out.
Gunnett says they got some pictures and things put by the door ready to go if they had to leave, although they didn't have to evacuate.
Firefighters from Mishawaka, South Bend and Clay Township were called to the scene.
People could smell the smoke miles from the scene.
Traffic was congested around Union Street. Some roads were closed in the area.
Freeman says there were no evacuations, although crews were worried about embers drifting to nearby properties.
The vacant RMG building once housed the oldest and longest operating factory in Mishawaka.
According to our partners at the South Bend Tribune, the factory shut down in 2006 and around 180 people lost their jobs.
Before it was RMG, it was the Dodge Manufacturing Company.
That factory opened in 1878 as the Magic Jack Company.
It was one of 40 buildings owned by William and Wallace Dodge along the St. Joseph River.
It was sold to Reliance Electric Company in 1967.
Since then, it was purchased and sold by two other companies and now is used for storage.
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