Authorities are investigating a fire that heavily damaged a Waterloo-area group home, displacing nearly a dozen people with intellectual disabilities. Firefighters from four area departments were called to the scene Wednesday afternoon in Evansdale.

Chris Sparks, is executive director of Exceptional Persons Incorporated, which has run the home for about 20 years. He says the home was empty when the fire broke out. The 10 residents and one staff member normally at the home were away at day jobs or programs.

The fire gutted half of the one-story structure; the other half sustained smoke and water damage. Sparks says everyone displaced by the fire spent the night in a hotel, but they won’t be homeless for long. He says there are a number of other residential facilities in the area. The state fire marshal is expected to be at the scene today to investigate the cause.