UPDATE: Cause of fire at recycling warehouse undetermined

Published: Feb. 16, 2018 at 5:05 PM CST
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The Iowa City Fire Marshal announced they had completed their investigation on March 5.

The investigation found the area of origin and the cause of the fire to be 'undetermined.'



Fire Marshal Brian Greer with the Iowa City Fire Department is still trying to determine the cause of the fire. Firefighters were able to put out all of the hot spots on Saturday.

Greer says they are waiting to see if Republic Services has any visual evidence from inside the building to determine how the flames started.

He says, "We're kinda waiting for the company to be able to check the video cameras to see if they were actually functional, so that can help us maybe locate the origin."

He hopes to have the footage on Monday.



Firefighters were still on scene more than six hours after the fire at a warehouse owned by Republic Services. The fire broke out Friday afternoon at the building at the corner of E. Benton Street and Capitol Street along the Iowa River.

"I heard sirens so I came outside and saw this building on fire," said Iowa City Resident Katelynn Varrige.

Authorities say the City Carton Recycling Headquarters became engulfed in flames just after 4:15pm Friday afternoon.

"I thought it was my apartment building on fire so I was scared at first," said Varrige.

Fire officials say the paper products inside are a cause of why it's taking so long to be put out.

"What we have inside primarily are thousands and thousands of bales of compressed recycled cardboard so those are burning and they're very difficult to extinguish and those recycling materials certainly contributed," said Iowa City Deputy Fire Chief Eric Nurnberg.

While firefighters were battling against the flames, some parts of walls collapsed and the rest are unstable. Nurnberg says it's a careful operation.

"We spent some time in defensive operation just applying water from the outside and of course the fire is very deep-seeded and is now covered by a lot of walls and roofing materials," said Nurnberg. "It's hard to get to."

So far, the fire has destroyed half the building. Nurnberg says people were in the building at the time so the's glad everyone got out safe.

"We're thankful that there were no people trapped inside. To our knowledge no one injured. Right now, still all of our firefighters spirits are high and we're doing a lot of good work so things are going well despite an unfortunate situation," said Nurnberg.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Authorities say they will be at the scene most of the night to clear the building and assure that no part of it remains active.



A recycling warehouse appears to be destroyed in a fire Friday afternoon near downtown Iowa City.

The warehouse sits at the intersection of E. Benton Street and Capitol Street along the Iowa River. It had been operated by City Carton Recycling but Republic Services, another recycling company, had recently taken over the facility.

No one was hurt in the fire, which started around 4:30 pm Friday. Police on the scene tell TV9 the warehouse had been used to store paper and cardboard products, making the fire particularly difficult to fight.



Firefighters are dealing with a fire at City Carton recycling in Iowa City. That is at Benton Street by the Iowa River. Crews say no one has been hurt.

We have a reporter on scene.

We will continue to update this story as details come in.