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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Overnight Fire Causes Millions in Damage

An overnight fire caused millions of dollars in damage to downtown Iowa City last month.

Iowa City Fire Marshal John Grier said he isn’t ready to give an exact amount, but estimated the total destruction to be greater than anything he’s seen in his four years as fire marshal.

“A lot of properties have damage,” Grier said. “So right now safety is the big key.”

Grier said the cause of the blaze wont be determined this week. “If we can get the debris removed that will give us some more information,” he said.

The fire broke out late last month, after a tenant living in an apartment above Bruegger’s Bagels reported smelling smoke. Crews battled the blaze for more than five hours before it was contained. A handful of businesses and apartments in the 200 block of Iowa Avenue took on serious fire, smoke and water damage.

Carolyn Wine, who lives in a building near where the fire broke out, said she can still smell smoke inside her apartment. “There’s just a faint smell of smoke,” Wine said. “I think there was some water damage in the building, but I was really lucky.”

Grier said investigators were joined by at least one attorney and some insurance agents on Tuesday.

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