Building Destroyed In Iowa City Fire Valued At Just Under $1 Million

By Lee Hermiston

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The building destroyed in the Tuesday afternoon fire in Iowa City was valued at just under $1 million, but the total cost of that fire will likely be much more.

"Building contents will greatly increase that estimate for a total loss amount," Iowa City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Platz said in an email to Chief John Grier.

Crews were called to 2339 Heinz Road in south east Iowa city at 3:24 p.m. Tuesday for a fire in a commercial building. The large tin building had nine units and was home to or provided storage for several businesses, including STS Transportation, Penske, Pouleson Woodworking and ServPro.

Platz said responding crews encountered flames lashing out from the roof of the building when they arrived. The structure's open attic space allowed the flames to spread the length of the building. The fire also caused the roof to weaken and collapse on itself, shielding the fire.

Firefighters also encountered several explosions at the scene of the fire, Platz said.

"We later learned that the building contained LP tanks, acetylene tanks, gas tanks, diesel tanks," as well as paint and lacquers, Platz said in the email.

Platz said in the email that firefighters believe the fire was started by a welder working on a steel trailer inside one of the units. Seven of the nine units sustained "extensive fire damage" and the other two sustained water damage, Platz said.

The three alarm fire required assistance from numerous area fire departments, including West Branch, Hills, Solon, Coralville, North Liberty, Lone Tree, Tiffin and Riverside. Off-duty personnel were also called in.

There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians, officials said.
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