Basement Fire Displaces Three People in Northwest Cedar Rapids

By Christy Aumer, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Cedar Rapids Fire Department is investigating the cause of a house fire that displaced three people Wednesday evening.

Cedar Rapids Fire Department spokesman Greg Buelow said officials received a report around 3:42 p.m. Wednesday, of smoke coming from the home at 155 19th St. NW. Amber Forde, 32, and her nine-year-old daughter came home to the smell of smoke. They discovered a fire near the water heater in the basement, called 911 and exited safely, officials said. Firefighters said there was zero visibility in the basement, and full of thick smoke. No one was injured, except a family cat that died as a result of the fire. A pet lizard was saved by Forde's boyfriend and resident, Wes Gerdes, 38, after crews extinguished the blaze.

According to officials, the fire damage didn't reach the first floor, but there was smoke damage throughout the entire home.

Red Cross will be assisting the family. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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