2 fires in 2 days

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Courthouse, model home blazes in SL

On Tuesday afternoon, Storm Lake firefighters were called to extingush a roof blaze that caused the evacuation of the Buena Vista County Courthouse. Last night, they battled a blaze that did major damage to the Robinson Homes model home on West Milwaukee.

The fire on the courthouse roof was reported at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, after torches being used to cut our cells in the former jail site ignited dust and lint in the duct work, which burned through a steel duct to the roof.

Firefighters located the fire burning inside of and around a roof top air vent on the north side of the courthouse, while others raced down the street with the heavy hoses to connect to hydrants around the area. All the streets surrounding the courthouse were shut down, and employees and patrons gathered to watch from across the roads as the warning alarms continued to blast.

The aerial truck was used to lift a pair of firefighters directly over the fire to train water on the area. A small area of the roofing material was removed around the vent to extinguish and remove large chunks of burning insulation, which firemen hurled over the side of the building.

A hose was dropped through the roof to a second floor hallway to ensure that the fire was extinguished.

Fire damage was limited to the roof area and the interior of the duct with moderate water damage to the second floor and basement levels of the courthouse. Most of the courthouse was later reopened to business. A damage estimate was not available at presstime.

Firefighters were on the scene for about 90 minutes.

On Wednesday night, the fire department was called out shortly before 8 p.m. for a fire at the American Homes / Robinson Homes model home building. Flames were already shooting out of the roof before the department could arrive.

Crews knocked down the flames in a matter of minutes, while several of the firefighters broke through the door to attack the fire from the inside. Small areas of flame kept breaking out in the upper levels of the building, keeping firefighters busy. They were on scene until about 10:45. Heavily-traveled West Milwaukee and several sidestreets were shut down for a time as a preventative measure.

The cause of the fire was not immediately determined, and no damage estimate was available at presstime. No injuries were reported.

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