Des Moines Street Reopens After Younkers Fire

KCCI.com

DES MOINES, Iowa — Downtown business owners on Locust Street said they saw trucks with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives leave the area around 11 a.m. Saturday.

Some businesses along Locust have been struggling since the fire.

"Last week was difficult in that a lot of people didn't venture downtown because of the street closures," said John Heitzman, who owns The Book Store on Locust Street.

A massive fire ripped through the historic former Younker's Building downtown one week earlier. Heitzman said his store has been open every day since the fire, but his business has taken a serious hit.

"The cash flow was a little slow and there wasn't a lot of traffic," he said.

Heitzman said business Saturday picked up again.

"Now that the streets are open, it's back to normal. It looks like there's a little life out there on Locust," he said.

Around the corner at Sarpino's Pizza, business has also been struggling since the fire.

"The dine is very, very slow," said Marc Weller, who owns the restaurant. "It's 'cause we're only skywalk access."

The fire didn't damage the restaurant, but Weller's business felt its effect.

"No one knows that you can actually get in here," Weller said.

Customers will be able to enter Sarpino's Pizza through the Quizno's entrance on Locust starting Monday. Owners do not know when Seventh Street will reopen, but they hope it happens soon.

The Des Moines Fire Department said they will hold a press conference Sunday to discuss the ATF's findings. They said they hope to have more information on when the closed skywalks will reopen along with Seventh Street and other roads.
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