Officials in Cedar Rapids are investigating what caused a fire early Sunday morning at an abandoned lumber yard. The property on the city’s southwest side was most recently home to Area Tree Service, but has been vacant since the 2008 floods.
The fire spread to nearby trees, power lines, and into backyards. Ranelle Meyer, who lives nearby, was awakened by firefighters at 4 a.m.
“There was a knock on my backdoor and someone said you need to get out,” Meyer said.
“I looked out the window and the entire alley was just orange flames.” Crews battled the fire along with heavy wind and rain for more than an hour before getting it under control. Steve Hauk owns one of the detached garages in the alley near the old lumber yard.
“My wife’s car sustained quite a bit of damage, blown tires, scorched paint and everything,” Hauk said. No one was injured, but now neighbors will have some replacing, repairing and perhaps some rebuilding to do.
The fire started as a thunderstorm rolled through Cedar Rapids, but authorities are not sure if a lightning strike may’ve sparked the flames.
By Allison Speck, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids