Officer Injured in Crash En Route to Northwest Indiana Fire

A massive fire damaged several buildings in northwest Indiana Tuesday night, authorities said, and one police officer was injured in a major car crash on his way to the scene.

The fire broke out at around 9:30 p.m. near the intersection of Center Street and East Third Street in Hobart, Indiana, fire officials said.

It started in a tanning salon on the first floor of a mixed-use building, then spread quickly to the second floor which houses several apartments.

The second floor of the building then collapsed, crashing down onto the charred ground below.

No one was upstairs at the time of the collapse, fire officials said, but three firefighters suffered minor injuries when they slipped and fell in the icy conditions.

"Conditions became very unsafe," said Hobart Fire Lt. John Reitz. "All the firefighters had to be pulled from the building. All the water we poured on the building tonight, with this frigid temperatures, sheet of glass on the roads."

A Hobart police officer who was responding to the fire ended up in a car crash just blocks from the fire, authorities said. Pieces of his patrol car were strewn about when he lost control and hit a tree.

Police did not confirm the officer's condition, but his injuries in the crash were not believe to be life-threatening.

It took at least half a dozen fire departments more than five hours to extinguish the blaze. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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