Neighbors struggling to cope after Elkhart County factory fire rekindles


Fire crews returned Thursday to Lami Plast to deal with hot spots.

This is the massive factory fire that started early Sunday morning in northwest Elkhart County.

The original call was made about 2 a.m. Sunday.Crews spent more than 48 hours there getting the fire under control and then putting out hot spots.Thursday morning, a couple of spots rekindled, sending fire crews back to the seen in Osolo Township.

Firefighters have poured millions of gallons of water on the stubborn fire, and neighbors are now dealing with the aftermath.

Judy Letner is one of those keeping an eye on developments.

The blaze was next to her property. When fire crews originally spent two days knocking it down, a lot of runoff water from the fire spilled into her backyard.

It's now frozen and causing a lot of headaches for her and her family.

"All the water from the factory has ran over here and in our yard, flooded our garage, flooded our yard, flooded underneath our house and our well pit," said Letner. "We're worried about mold and everything under the house with all the water."

It has caused her water lines to freeze.

"We have no water, can't take baths or anything," Letner added. "We have to go somewhere else to take baths. We're going to the neighbors and getting water."

Given the circumstances, Letner isn't sure where to turn to address the problems.

"We haven't gotten any news on the insurance company over there at all. I don't know if we can call the fire department and see if they know who the insurance company is or what we should do. We're not sure what to do."

If that's not enough, the family is also dealing with lingering fumes from the fire and the recent rekindle.

"(Wednesday), it was really bad, the gray smoke and everything was coming into the house, and my throat was sore from it and still is. The kids were smelling it, and I just don't know what to do any more."

Letner says she's trying to get in touch with the Elkhart County Health Department to see what step to take next.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries fighting the blaze.