Congressman Bruce Braley says officials from the Small Business Administration are now in Maquoketa to help businesses there trying to recover from a January 19th downtown fire. Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says the S.B.A. began the process as soon as they learned the eastern community had been approved for disaster assistance loans.

Braley says the low-interest disaster loans carry a rate of four-point-five percent and can be up to one-point-five millions dollars. The deadline to apply for the loans is December of this year. Stunned residents watched as the fire burned through the downtown, destroying some historic buildings that dated to the 1870s.

Braley says the announcement of the S.B.A. loans should help the businesses reestablish themselves and have a positive impact on the downtown Maquoketa area. Braley says all of the business owners hit by the fire should be eligible for S.B.A. help.

He says it’s his understanding that every one of the businesses would be eligible for the loans based on their size. Some 25 to 30 fire departments responded to the fire and were later applauded by state legislators for fighting the fire in sub-zero temperatures.