Five buildings in downtown Maquoketa were destroyed in Saturday’s fire and at least one more building was damaged by the fast-moving blaze. Some of the historic buildings dated to the 1870s. Stunned residents gathered behind the baricades to watch the spectacle unfold as fire crews battled the flames and the freezing temperatures.
An unidentified woman says: "It’s just disaster. Half of our Main Street is gone." The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined though investigators do -not- think it was suspicious in origin. At least five businesses were lost in the blaze and four families, who were living above the businesses, are homeless. This woman, Kathy Appelhans stopped into the Home Furnishings store the day before.
Appelhans says, "I couldn’t believe in less than 24 hours, their business and part of their livelihood is gone." Every fire department in Jackson County showed up to help, along with several others from outside the area, even as far away as Illinois. Temperatures as low as ten-below zero hindered their efforts. Fire crews used up the town’s water supply and had to truck in water from the Maquoketa River.