Investigators Determine Cause of Hamburg Inn Fire

By Max Walker, Digital Editor

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Fire Marshal Brian Greer says no one is to blame for Sunday’s fire at Hamburg Inn No. 2.

Investigators determined the cause was accidental and the fire started as a result of spontaneous ignition.

Firefighters say it started on an shelving unit next to a clothes dryer in the basement of the building at 214 North Linn Street. Employees put rags from the dryer on the shelf and released enough heat to begin self-ignition, according to a release from the fire department.

From there, the fire spread up the wall and ignited other materials. A copper water pipe broke from the heat, slowing the growth of the fire.

Authorities estimate the total cost of damage to the building and contents at $30,000.

On Monday, Hamburg Inn No. 2 owner Dave Panther estimated his restaurant would be closed for a minimum of three weeks.

The National Fire Protection Association says spontaneous ignition causes more than 14,000 fires each year, about half of them in residential properties. It can be caused by several factors, including cooking or automotive oils, paint cleaners, and varnishes.

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