A fire last night destroyed an Iowa City business and two apartments attached to the building. Iowa City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Platz says crews were called to the scene just before 8 p.m. as temperatures were in the single digits.
“Obviously we’re using water to put the fire out, so everything freezes up and makes slip hazards. The street is full of water and it’s kind of a mess,” Platz said. It took crews from Iowa City, Solon, Hills, West Branch and Coralville several hours to extinguish the fire.
The building, at 1515 Jackson Avenue, housed two apartments and a dental business that supplies area dentists with supplies and custom molds. The dental lab has been in Brian Hartley’s family for several generations.
“My grandpa had the lab in his basement for a long time and in all the houses they lived in around Iowa City,” Hartley said. “We’ll just move operations to my parent’s house probably and do what we can.” Hartley is optimistic the 40 to 60 dentists the lab serves will stick with his family’s business as they begin to rebuild operations.
“It’s just a building. Everyone is OK, so that’s what’s important,” Hartley said. No one was injured in the fire. A resident of one of the apartments said everyone was able to get out safely before the fire spread.
Investigators believe the fire started in the kitchen of one of the apartments, but they’re still looking into what caused the fire.
By Mark Carlson, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids