Fire tore through a large commercial building shared by several businesses Tuesday afternoon in southeast Iowa City, though no one was injured in the blaze.
The Iowa City Fire Department was called to the 16,000-square-foot metal warehouse at 2339 Heinz Road at 3:25 p.m. The long building, which is divided into about a dozen bays, included units occupied by STS Transportation, Owen Masonry, ServPro and Penske Truck Rental.
â€œWhen we got here we had fire coming through the roof of the first three bays of the east side, then we had multiple explosions inside,â€ said Iowa City Fire Battalion Chief Greg Tinnes, who said officials had yet to determine the cause of the explosions.
By early evening, the visible flames had been suppressed but dozens of firefighters were still dousing hot spots. A pair of ladder trucks were positioned alongside the 17-year-old building, and firefighters were hosing the interior from above the collapsed roof.
â€œAs this steel roof was collapsing in, it was preventing us from getting access,â€ Tinnes said.
Tinnes said it was unclear how the fire started. Two fire investigators had already begun investigating by early Tuesday evening, he said.
Tim Owen, the owner of Owen Masonry, watched as crews fought the blaze. His companyâ€™s rental space was on the west end of the building, where there was less damage, and he was hoping his equipment inside would be spared. Owen said all of his employees were out on jobs at the time of the fire.
â€œIâ€™m waiting to see if they get it stopped before it gets to my equipment,â€ Owen said.
ServPro of Iowa City and Coralville owner Brian Meyer, who had storage space on the west side of the building, was expecting plenty of water and smoke damage, at the very least.
â€œWe have to wait to see if we can get in there and salvage anything,â€ Meyer said.
The fire on Heinz Road has disrupted bus routes that typically travel in the area.
From the City of Iowa City:
Due to the closure of Heinz Road because of a building fire, the inbound Mall bus route is detouring using Liberty Drive to Scott Boulevard and back to Highway 6. The stops located at Systems Unlimited (stop 7131), Heinz Road & Scott Boulevard (stop 7132) and United Natural Foods (stop 7133) are temporarily closed until Heinz Road is reopened to traffic.
Our reporter on scene indicates that the fire appears to be mostly contained at this point. He indicated that the building belongs to STS Transportation, a truck company.
Several fire crews are on the scene of a fire at building on Heinz Road in southeastern Iowa City.
The smoke from the fire that started on Tuesday was visible from miles away in several directions.
We have reporters on scene. Check back in later for more details on the fire.