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Merrillville fire was arson, fire chief says

The fire Wednesday night this building 8000 block Tyler Street has been ruled arsMerrillville Fire Chief Ed Yergsaid Friday. |

The fire Wednesday night in this building in the 8000 block of Tyler Street has been ruled arson, Merrillville Fire Chief Ed Yerga said Friday. | Karen Caffarini/For the Post-Tribune

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Updated: March 3, 2014 5:36PM



MERRILLVILLE — A Wednesday night fire in a three-unit building in the 8000 block of Tyler Street has been confirmed as arson, Fire Chief Ed Yerga said Friday.

Yerga said the ruling came after it was discovered that the fire ignited at four different locations inside two units in the building, occupied by ScreenMe printing and Tristar Vacuum Cleaning.

He said no fire ignited in a third, unoccupied, unit inside the building.

“The two occupied units sustained smoke and fire damage. The third unit suffered only minor smoke damage,” Yerga said.

He said cost estimates haven’t been determined; the fire is still under investigation.

Kathleen LaMantia, of Portage, who said she is a part-owner of the building, came out to inspect the damages on Thursday. However, locks were placed on the doors and she couldn’t get inside.

She confirmed the third unit was unoccupied.

“We’re looking for a renter,” she said.

Front windows in the middle and northern-most units were boarded up; insulation and strips of vinyl siding lay in the snow at the north side of the building.

Firefighters from all four Merrillville stations, Crown Point and Schererville battled the fire Wednesday night.

Yerga said a police officer noticed smoke coming from the building and called the Merrillville Fire Department about 7 p.m. Wednesday.



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