A Des Moines area woman was killed in a fire overnight. Johnston Fire Chief Jim Krohse says crews were called to the five-unit townhome complex just after midnight where they found one of the center units fully engulfed. The first crew went in through the front door, finding heavy flames in the living room area.
A second crew found the victim, an adult female, and brought her out though she was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name is not yet being released. Chief Krohse says firewalls prevented the flames from reaching other units in the complex, which was a big help, but he says the elements were against them as early-morning temperatures were in single digits. One hydrant was frozen and the water on the ground from fighting the fire was freezing quickly making it a difficult fire to fight.
Several neighboring departments from Des Moines and the surrounding area were called in to help. Krohse says this may be the first time anyone’s been killed in a fire in Johnston. He’s only been chief since mid-April but says in talking with others who’ve been on the department since the 1970s, no one had any recollection of there ever having been a fatal fire in the community. The cause of this blaze is still under investigation though Krohse says it does -not- appear to be suspicious in nature.