A Storm Lake apartment complex sustained serious damage Saturday when food left cooking started a fire in a basement apartment.
The Storm Lake Fire Department responded to the fire at 401 West 4th St. just after 12:30 p.m. As they arrived, smoke was already pouring out of the basement on the west side of the complex and from the attic area.
Despite smoke so thick it obstructed vision, firefighters entered the basement and located a fire in the kitchen of the basement apartment. The blaze was extinguished quickly, but had already burned through to damage a portion of the exterior of the building.
Firefighters ventilated the building, and were on the scene for four-and-a-half hours.
All occupants of the complex had been evacuated by the police department prior to the fire department's arrival. There were no injuries reported.
The Iowa State Fire Marshal's Office was dispatched to the scene to assist in determining the cause. Based on an investigation, the cause is suspected to be food that was left cooking on the stove too long.
There was extensive damage to the basement apartment, according to the fire department. Damage is estimated in excess of $20,000.
The apartment complex was vacated due to the damage. All of the occupants have been relocated. Five people were displaced due to the fire.
The fire department was assisted by the Storm Lake Police Department and the Buena Vista County Paramedics.