Fire Damages North Liberty Apartment Complex

By Sam Lane & Addison Speck, Reporters

(Brian Ray/The Gazette)


By Aaron Hepker

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa — Firefighters are still working to determine what caused a North Liberty fire. It happened at the Beaver Kreek Center on the southeast side of North Liberty. North Liberty Firefighters were notified around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Solon, Iowa City, Coralville and Tipton also came to help. The complex has apartments on top and businesses on bottom.

The building that caught fire was home to eight apartments. Nearly half the roof was gone and the left side apartments are charred. “I just opened the door and yelled as loud as I could for everyone to evacuate and there was a fire in the building,” said Megan Andersen who lives in the neighboring building. Andersen’s building was also evacuated as flames grew too close to the side of the building.

“We saw heavy smoke and flames coming through the rear of the building we just began a fire attack,” said Craig Voparil, North Liberty Fire Captain. Some of those who live in and near the building told they thought they saw the fire start on or near a back deck of an apartment. “I turned around and saw flames coming out of the apartment and the screen door and on to the deck that was right outside the door. They were starting to come up onto the roof,” said Andersen.

Laura Kingery lives in the building that caught fire and at first wasn’t sure what was going on. “I was inside my apartment and I heard the smoke alarms go off and I didn’t react right away because I thought maybe someone was cooking or something like that,” said Kingery. She later went into the hallway to find a firefighter telling people to get out.

Firefighters put out the fire, less than two hours after it started. Despite the damage appearing to be only on the left side, Voparil suspects every apartment and business in the building will face some sort of damage. It was something many tenants hoped they wouldn’t have to hear. But as they watched half of their roof disappear and smoke push out, many just hoped there will be a few things left to salvage. “Might be wishful thinking but hopefully i will be able to get something,” said Kingery.

As of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, nobody was injured from the fire, firefighters were able to get everyone out safely. The Red Cross is currently helping six adults and two children who were impacted.
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