Investigators are searching for the cause of a large, fast-moving fire that destroyed an eastern Iowa apartment building. Sixty tenants of the 27-unit apartment building in Clinton were forced into the cold about eight o’clock last night (Tuesday) as the Deer Ridge Apartments building was destroyed.

The Clinton Fire Department was assisted by firefighters from nearby Camanche and from Fulton, Illinois. Clinton Fire Chief Mark Regenwether says when they arrived, it appeared everyone had escaped from the building, though he sent firefighters inside to be sure.

Regenwether says the firefighters were inside for more than 20 minutes and if there was anyone inside after that, their chances of survival were very thin and the risk to the firefighters was increasing as the flames spread rapidly. He says the fire crews had to battle the cold and several other elements.

Regenwether says firefighters had an extremely difficult time on their initial response even accessing the second floor due to the heat and heavy smoke. Because of the excessive debris from the building, Regenwether says it could be Thursday before the situation is fully assessed and it’s determined that everyone got out alive. No injuries have been reported. There’s no word on a possible cause.