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Will WL Fire That Destroyed Five Houses Spur Talk Of Urban Planning, Expansion Changes?

One of five houses destroyed by a fire in West Lafayette in July 2019.

One of five houses destroyed by a fire in West Lafayette on Friday. (Stan Jastrzebski/WBAA News)

Though no cause has been released, fire officials studying the blaze which leveled five homes and damaged at least three others Friday in West Lafayette say they hope it sends a message to policy-makers.

Wabash Township Fire Chief Ed Ward, whose department is leading the investigation, says the fire on Tesla Drive underscores possible unintended consequences of the area’s recent growth spurt.

“This county’s had so much expansion, you know, very very quickly," Ward says. "And I think that it’s just one of those things that this might be a beacon showing them ‘hey listen, maybe we need to slow down, take a look at how we’re doing things and try to re-evaluate if we’re doing it the right way.’”

Ward says the close proximity of the homes to one another may have played a role in how quickly the flames spread.

Because insurance adjusters have to make their own examinations of the properties, it could be several days before an official cause of the fire is released.

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