Two-alarm fire destroys Iowa City business, two apartments (WITH GALLERY)

Fire began in one apartment's kitchen, but cause still undetermined

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Firefighters in Iowa City responded to a fire at an Iowa City business around 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday. When crews arrived on the scene at 1515 Jackson Avenue, flames were coming out of a first-floor window.

Heavy smoke and flames continue to pour from the building, Dental Lab Inc., for several hours. A second alarm went out, bringing help from Solon, Hills, West Branch and Coralville. The city said in a news release that 34 firefighters were on the scene. There are two apartments attached to the back of the building.

Fire Chief Andy Rocca and Fire Marshal John Grier were both on the scene.

"We serve between 40 and 60 dentists," owner Mike Hartley said of his business, which supplies equipment to dentists. "This is tough."

A city bus was also brought in for firefighters to get water and get out of the cold. Fire officials said chilly temperatures made fighting the flames more difficult.

A resident of one of the apartments said everyone was able to get out safely before the fire spread. The structure was declared a total loss. Investigators say the fire started in the kitchen of one of the apartments, but are still looking into what caused the fire.

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