Sioux City firefighters remain on the scene today of a fire that forced some 40 people out into the cold and rain last night.
Deputy Fire Marshal, John Nelson says there are still several hot spots. “With the roof membrane falling down and on top of where the attic space was consumed by the fire — you know we have tendency to get flare ups,” he says.
Some of the residents fled without coats or shoes and a city bus was used for a temporary shelter from the weather until a nearby church opened its doors. Most residents may not be able to retrieve their belongings from the building, which is believed to be a total loss. “The building has been red-tagged now deemed an imminent danger to anyone who goes inside. There’s just been so much water poured on the building to suppress the fire and that it’s just not safe for us even as Sioux City Fire to enter the structure anymore,” Nelson says. “We don’t want residents going back in and trying to get their things, unfortunately, I know they’ve lost a lot, but at this point, we can’t risk them getting hurt or getting trapped inside.”
Lieutenant Nelson says the fire may’ve started on the third floor in the attic, but an exact cause won’t be known for some time.
“Inspection services had their drone out and got some aerial coverage for us. We haven’t had time to really go analyze any of the photos quite yet — obviously we’re here trying to help the people that have been displaced,” he says. The Red Cross, Salvation Army and other local agencies are helping the residents left without a home by the fire.
(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)