Investigators searching for cause of Paullina, IA fire - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Investigators searching for cause of Paullina, IA fire


PAULLINA, Iowa (KTIV) -- A major fire earlier this week in Paullina, Iowa damaged a portion of the city's downtown and investigators are still looking for a cause.

Rubble is all that's left of some of the buildings as investigators comb through the wreckage, trying to find a cause.

"The nice thing is, we put together the whole story as far as what everyone was seeing. It kind of gets us in the origin of the area," said deputy state fire marshal Dave Schipper.

It's a tough job as investigators make their way through the ice and debris. The row of buildings on the city's main street were once home to many businesses including a liquor store, a photography shop, and a catering company -- a big blow for a small town.

Schipper says, "Obviously we lost a lot of businesses or at least damaged a lot of businesses."

Other nearby businesses were spared from the flames, but many did suffer smoke and water damage.

¶Orange City Fire Chief Dennis Vander Wel says, "It's a bad situation to begin with, there are multiple buildings connected together," said Orange City fire chief Dennis Vander Wel.

In order to help the fire from spreading further that night, firefighters used aerial ladder trucks. This one from Orange City has only been in operation for two weeks. It's brand new to the department.

"The devastation was already happening, what we needed to do is stop the fire from going down the block to the east or north," said Vander Wel.

If not for the fire-fighting equipment, firefighters might have had even more destruction to go through, making an already tough investigation even more difficult.

Insurance adjusters and business owners are still trying to fully assess the damage.

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