Fire Destroys Historic Building in Des Moines

A 115-year-old downtown Des Moines building that housed an iconic department store for decades caught fire early Saturday, and large portions of the structure collapsed, reports USA Today.

It appeared that nobody was injured.

Fire officials said the first call on the fire was at 12:52 a.m. CDT Saturday. Arriving firefighters found the upper two floors of the building engulfed in flames.

“Within minutes of our arrival, we had structural failure internally,” Des Moines Fire Department spokesman Brian O’Keefe said.

A second alarm was called in, and as soon as the incident commander arrived he called a third alarm — a rare occurrence in Des Moines, O’Keefe said.

As the flames began to diminish, firefighters concentrated on protecting adjacent properties.

At 6:30 a.m., downtown Des Moines reeked of smoke. Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles filled the area.

The fire appeared to be under control, but fire crews were still pouring huge streams of water on the fire from all directions

At 10:50 a.m., the fire was contained to the lower levels of the building, but firefighters weren’t able to get inside the building, O’Keefe said.

“Due to the structural integrity, we can’t make interior attack,” O’Keefe said.

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