Authorities are asking for eyewitness video of the fire that destroyed the former Younkers building in downtown Des Moines over the weekend.
A team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the site to determine how the blaze started. Younkers closed the store in 2005 and the 115-year-old building was undergoing a 35-million dollar renovation into apartments and retail space. Tony Garcia of the Hansen Company — the general contractor for the project — says his firm exceeded all fire code regulations for the construction site and all work that may have produced sparks ended by 2:30 Friday afternoon — 11 hours before the blaze was first reported.
“We walked through at 3:30,” Garcia told reporters Monday afternoon. “We walked the building again at 5:30, at which time all the workers were done for the day. The building was secured. All the doors were locked.”
The project’s developer is unable to say whether they’ll be able to salvage anything from the site. Executives with Alexander and Company — the site’s owner — say they have never had a loss of this magnitude.