Cause of fire at South Meadows Apartments still unknown


Photo: Kelsey Kremer/Iowa State

Tenants of 301 S. Fifth St., one of the South Meadow apartment buildings, move their belongs out of the water and fire damaged apartments Monday, July 16, the day following a fire that caused significant damage to the building. 

Frances Myers

The cause of the fire that occurred at South Meadow Apartments at 301 S. Fifth St. on Sunday is still unknown, said fire captain Richard Higgins of the Ames Fire Department.

Higgins said the call for the fire was received at 5:30 a.m. Sunday. All three fire stations responded to the call, which is not unusual, he said.

“Any structure fire the typical response is all three stations,” Higgins said. “We have the two engines, a ladder truck and a command vehicle for the fire chief.

“The fire started down below in the parking garage underneath,” Higgins said. “There are no doors on the garage so the fire came out of the garage and worked up the vinyl siding and got into the overhang of the roof. Once it got up into the attic — the attic doesn’t have what is called a firestop or actually a draft stop. So there’s no drywall or anything to keep it running the distance of the attic around all three sections of the building. So what we try and do is we try and get ahead of where the fire is at, and just with there being no firestops in there, that made it difficult for us to stop that fire itself.”

Thirty-eight firefighters were at the scene, Higgins said.

“We got as many firefighters there as we could,” Higgins said. “That’s not typical for a fire to have that many. It was a large fire so we had as many people back there working.”