Investigation continues into a couple of housefires in the past 24 hours in Iowa. This (Friday) morning in Des Moines, firefighters called to a vacant house thought they might have a suspicious fire but spokesman Brian O’Keefe says they’re looking at other possibilities. He says several 9-1-1 calls reported the fire, one saying there was an explosion — but he says in a “slow burner,” a fire can smoulder for some time before the heat will build to the point where the fire flashes intensely. Windows fail, the fire goes bursting out — but it’s not what investigators call a true explosion. A tenant had moved out a week earlier, and O’Keefe says the pattern’s typical of a fire that begins in an unoccupied house. When firefighters arrived the fire was burning out all the windows and the front door — all over the house. He says that’s consistent with a “flash-over.” In the early morning with nobody there he points out nobody’s going to notice it till flames start coming outside the house. O’Keefe adds that early reports that gas and electric were shut off may have been incorrect. He says it’s typical of a sudden cold snap, especially at the start of heating season, that undetected furnace and wiring problems will cause some house fires. In Muscatine County Thursday morning, firefighters called to a house in the small riverside community of Fairport put out a blaze and found a body in the ruins. The investigation continues there into the cause of the fire and the identity of the body.
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