The cause of the fire at K-Fex in New Carlisle that claimed the life of Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Middlebrook can not be determined.
State Fire Marshall Jim Greeson said the facility sustained too much damage so a definitive cause of the fire could not be established. He noted that reasonable accidental ignition sources could not be ruled out, but also could not be proven as the cause of the fire.
The investigation found that flames moved from the south building to the north building and into the attic. The attic of the north building was painted metal which allowed the fire to burn undetected in the space above the firefighters. The direct flames to the wooden trusses caused the roof to collapse, which resulted in Middlebrook’s death. Firefighter Matt O’Donnell suffered a broken leg.
Members of the Starke County Honor Guard escorted Middlebrook’s casket while members of the Starke County Firefighters Association helped cover shifts at the New Carlisle Fire Department so all department members could attend Middlebrook’s funeral service.