Public Safety

Early Thanksgiving Hiawatha blaze displaces 5 residents

Hiawatha Fire Department engines on Thursday, March 16, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Hiawatha Fire Department engines on Thursday, March 16, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — An apartment fire on Blairs Ferry Road Thursday displaced five residents on Thanksgiving, after they awoke to a power outage and the smell of smoke in the laundry room area of the building.

Hiawatha firefighters responded to a report of smoke in the building at 4:28 a.m. in building I at 1440 Blairs Ferry Rd., according to a news release. The five residents had been evacuated before police and fire units arrived and nobody was injured.

When firefighters arrived they found heavy smoke with fire under the floor and in the walls of the mechanical room in the building, fire officials said. Firefighters were able to knock down the blaze quickly but it took several hours to open up the walls to ensure the fire was out.     

Along with Hiawatha, Robins and Monroe Township fire department dispatched to the scene, resulting in 26 firefighters responding in total because they received reports it was structure fire. This resulted in a large and quick response, according the news release. The Hiawatha Police Department, Alliant Energy and Mid-American Energy also assisted at the scene.

The building was deemed uninhabitable and Red Cross is assisting two of the residents with services.

Fire officials said the blaze appears to have started in the mechanical room but remains under investigation.

The building had previously be damaged in the Aug. 10 derecho and several units were still being repaired.     

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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