A man installing a HVAC system in the Breakwater Apartments in New Albany started the fire that destroyed the building.

In a report released Thursday by the New Albany Fire Department, officials say they concluded the fire started in Apartment 217 in the ceiling area above the mechanical room on Feb. 24 between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Joe Miller with Del Monde Heating and Air was working to braze a copper line for the heating and air when the copper ignited from direct conduct with a torch. Miller told officials he tried to put the fire out himself with multiple fire extinguishers for about 45 minutes.

In another effort to stop the fire, Miller cut a 2-foot-by-2-foot hole to get the insulation out that was on fire. At the point, he believed he had the fire out, according to the report.

Multiple other contractors said they saw smoke at the time, but at no point did any of them notify the fire department. The timing of the fire is inconsistent with what crews said on scene. Initial reports were that the fire started at 5 a.m. Saturday, where as the full report says it started as many as 16 hours before that.

The majority of the building had to be demolished as a result of the fire. Residents had yet to move in to the brand new building.



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