Fire Destroys Butler-Tarkington Building

IFD photo

Four businesses at the 40th and Boulevard Place commercial node were evicted by a Sunday, April 12, fire that destroyed the single story building at 3965 Boulevard Place in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood.

According to the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD), the owner of the building, Derek Cushenberry (66) told firefighters that he lives in the rear of the building and was unaware the building was on fire. He was awakened and notified to evacuate by a friend. Mr. Cushenberry told IFD he has owned the building since 1994. His tenants included Maytag Coin Laundry, Five Eighteen Pizza Parlor & Eatery, Allure Hair Studio, and Tree of Life Ministries Church. The Pastor of the Tree of Life Ministries told investigators that there were 4-6 people inside the church conducting a virtual service and noticed smoke in the ceiling before evacuating. No injuries were reported.

A passerby called 911 to report that heavy smoke was billowing from the building. Firefighters were dispatched at 11:41 a.m, and arrived on scene three minutes later to find a working fire. Defensive operations were ordered at 11:56 a.m. and a second alarm issued at 11:57 a.m. By 12:24 p.m. fire had pushed through the northwest corner of the building leading IFD command to order the establishment of a collapse perimeter to safeguard neighboring structures. At 12:29 p.m., in response to very heavy smoke rolling through the area, IFD Command requested that IMPD clear the vicinity of all visible civilians one block north and west of fire. The northwest corner of the building collapsed at 12:49 p.m. At IFD’s request, Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) cut power around the area grid by 1 p.m. The fire was brought under control by 1:36 p.m. The remainder of west side of the building collapsed at 1:57 p.m. and the scene was turned over to IFD/IMPD Fire Investigations at 3:28 p.m. when IPL restored power to the area. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Aerial view of damage to 3965 Boulevard Place. IFD photo