Fire wakes West Liberty

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Saturday morning, Jan. 25, was anything but quiet in downtown West Liberty as fire trucks rolled in from all over the area to put out a fire on Third Street.

According to a press release from the West Liberty Fire Department, it was called to 117 East Third St. around 10:44 a.m. in response to a fire being reported.

First responders had to deal with heavy smoke and fire coming from an upstairs apartment. Upon going inside, they encountered three rooms filled with smoke and fire.

The building, as well as those right by it, were evacuated as the firefighters attempted to bring the fire into submission. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured.

The press release states that the Red Cross assisted eight displaced citizens, and that two residents suffered from smoke inhalation. However, they refused to be transported to the hospital.

At one point firefighters set up a ladder and climbed up to a neighboring roof by the apartment, where they reached over and broke one of the burning buildings' windows. All the while, smoke poured out of the other windows of the residential area.

The firemen brought up another ladder and climbed up to the roof of the building on fire, where they used axes to break their way into the premises. This all occurred on the back side of the building.

In the front of the buildings on Third Street a fan was aimed into the Wuestenberg Agency office in order to dissipate the heavy smoke coming from next door. The office was closed Monday, Jan. 27 due to the smoke, according to a sign on its door.

In fact, smoke found it's way into both adjacent buildings, though no permanent damage was reported.

Ultimately, an interior attack on the fire was successful, and the fire was brought under control at approximately 11:44 a.m. The report estimates around $30,000 in damage occurred.

At this point the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The WLFD responded to the scene with three engines, one ambulance and 15 firefighters. Help came in from the Nichols, Atalissa and West Branch Fire Departments.

The West Liberty Police Department and Muscatine Sheriff were also on the scene, which hosted many curious onlookers as the fire progressed.

No major damage can be seen from the outside of the building, since the fire was contained to the inside of the residential apartments. While the fire was brought down before noon, several emergency personnel stayed on site afterward to help.
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