Crews Battle Wyoming Fire for More Than Three Hours

Local fire departments are battling a major fire on main street in Wyoming on Sunday, July 21, 2013. (Contributed photo)

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By Kelli Sutterman

WYOMING, Iowa – A restaurant and two vacant upstairs apartments are a total loss after fire ripped through a building in Wyoming, Sunday afternoon.

Crews were called to Ted’s Swinging Door at 127 West Main Street around noon, after someone saw smoke coming from inside. Allen Willman, with the Wyoming Fire Department, said they didn't have a cause. Even though the restaurant was closed, he said the fire could have started in the kitchen and spread to two vacant apartments upstairs.

It wasn't easy for the restaurant’s owner, Tim Arnell, to watch as those flames destroyed his property. "I've felt better that's for sure. Nothing you can do about it. They're doing their best to put it out. Looks like a total loss to me," said Arnell.

As the fire raged, spectators thought it could take the entire block. "The flames were so far up, coming out of the roof-- probably ten or fifteen feet out of the roof," said Wyoming resident Pasha Gonzales.

In fear the fire would reach their building next door, the museum evacuated what priceless pictures and documents they could. "The hallway was fully engulfed in smoke so we had the fireman go up and just rip them off the wall with pry bars. They were screwed to the walls,” said Wyoming Historical Museum Commission President Jim Eichhorn.

Water was in short supply. Wyoming fire crews had to empty the town's water tower in an attempt to douse flames. At least seven other departments assisted, bringing more water from nearby towns. "We've been hauling water out of Onslow and we're getting low. So, they started pumping out of the creeks, and we're trying to find one more water source out of town," said Cory Oberbreckling with the Onslow Fire Department.

Wyoming city officials put the town under a boil order until they could get their water tower refilled. Residents have been told to boil water used for drinking or cooking to kill any potential bacteria. City officials said they'll send out word when the order has been lifted.

In all, it took fire crews three-and-a-half hours to get the blaze under control. The restaurant and apartments are rubble; pieces Ted’s owner, Arnell, will have to figure out how to put back together.

"We got insurance, but I don't know how good it is,” said Arnell.

There were no injuries. Although, officials said one fire fighter was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
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