Investigation into Columbus Junction Fire Could Take Weeks

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

Crews battle a deadly fire in downtown Columbus Junction, Iowa, on Saturday, March 26, 2011. (Mark Carlson/KCRG-TV9 News)

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By Aaron Hepker

Columbus Junction Fire

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COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa - The State Fire Marshall is now investigating what caused a deadly weekend fire in Columbus Junction.

Two people were killed in the fire, and one other remains in the hospital. The fire broke out at around 2:45 Saturday afternoon near 110 Main Street in downtown. Columbus Junction Police Chief Donnie Orr said he is still contacting family members of the dead, and wont release the victims names until after that process is completed.

Newly released 911 dispatch recordings from the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office show that the building burst into flames quickly. One man told dispatchers that if they didn’t hurry the building would “blow up.”

“It’s shocking to me and shocking to everyone in town,” said Orr. “It’s something that you hope never happens.”

Orr said this is the first multi-death fire he can recall in his 18 years of service in Columbus Junction. He declined to comment on any potential causes, but said he is working with other agencies and will “explore all possibilities.”

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