Authorities continued to extinguish remaining hot spots Saturday evening of a fire that destroyed several downtown Maquoketa businesses.
Officials say the fire started at about 2 a.m. in an apartment above Jackson County Home Furnishings. Maquoketa Police Chief Brad Koranda said one person who was inside the structure escaped unharmed. As the fire spread it destroyed at least five buildings and badly damaged another. Several businesses were destroyed.
Crews sprayed water in the sub-zero temperatures on a nearby mill and the Old City Hall Gallery to prevent the buildings from catching fire.
Residents of apartments in the area were evacuated.
Nearly 20 local fire departments, including some from northwest Illinois, were at the scene.
Two firefighters were taken to Jackson County Regional Health Center after slipping on the ice. Another one went to the hospital with cold and exhaustion problems. All were treated and released.
When city water supplies reached a critical low early in the day, more than 100 fire trucks were seen between the Maquoketa River and the downtown area hauling water. Water was also brought in from a quarry north of the city.
"It was a cold, terrible, miserable day to fight a fire," said Mayor Tom Messerli, who is also a volunteer firefighter.