Firefighters Battle Apartment Complex Fire in Charles City

A fire Wednesday night in Charles City led to the evacuation of a six-apartment complex amid wind chills of 20 to 30 degrees below zero.

The Charles City Fire Department (CCFD) says they responded to a 911 report of a structure fire at 701 Milwaukee Street just after 9 p.m. Wednesday. Upon arrival, smoke was coming from a second story apartment. Charles City Police officers and firefighters initially on the scene alerted and evacuated each of the apartments before the next arriving firefighters made entry with an interior attack of the fire.  

Chief Eric Whipple says firefighters encountered very heavy smoke and fire conditions upon entering the building. In addition, indications from the exterior of the structure showed firefighters may be in danger if they remained inside. The CCFD Incident Commander made the decision to evacuate the Firefighters, and to begin an exterior attack on the fire.

Actual temperatures hovering around zero degrees, along with the wind chills of minus 20 to 30 degrees and a very steep roof covered with steel roofing materials made the firefight more complicated.

All apartment complex occupants present at the time of the fire escaped with one tenant transported by AMR ambulance to Floyd County Medical Center for evaluation of possible smoke inhalation.

Approximately 40 firefighters from the Charles City, Colwell, Floyd, Marble Rock and Nashua fire departments battled the blaze. Floyd County Emergency Management, Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, Floyd County Search and Rescue, American Red Cross, Charles City water and street departments, and MidAmerican Energy also responded to the scene. Assistance was also provided by 911 Communications Center

The fire remains under investigation by CCFD investigators, and does not appear to be suspicious in nature. There is major fire damage to one apartment and the attic area, along with major water damage throughout much of the home.  The CCFD was one the scene for about five hours.

According to Floyd County Assessor online records, the home is owned by Barry Mackey of Clarksville.

Chief Whipple also thanks Calvary Baptist Church, located next door to the apartment complex and was unharmed by the fire, for opening their doors to provide  responders to use the church as a much-needed warming place.

Mark Pitz

News Director/Weekdays 10am to 2pm on 95.9 KCHA
Back to top button