A historic building in Des Moines, Iowa catches fire and burns t - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

A historic building in Des Moines, Iowa catches fire and burns to the ground

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - An historic building in Iowa caught fire and burned to the ground early Saturday morning in downtown Des Moines.

Cell phone video, shot by Lisa Simms, captures a number of floors and walls within this historic downtown building collapsing to the ground.the Des Moines Fire Department received a flood of reports describing flames shooting out of the old Yonkers building.

From an office building across the street, You see what firefighters were up against.

Fire consumed every floor at 701 Walnut Street.

The blaze lit up the downtown skyline and attracted dozens of onlookers.

"You could hear it several different times. As each phase of the building fell, just a lot of loud, banding and clanging and a huge plume of dust. Stuff you usually see on TV. You don't see it in person," Jeramy McMillen, a witness said. 

Crews reported the three-alarm fire within minutes of being on scene.

Those tasked with entering the crumbling structure only made it halfway through their search.

Conditions forced firefighters to turn back at the the fourth floor.

"We did an initial movement into the building, but we were turned away rapidly by heat, flame and the collapse of interior, exterior," Brian O'Keefe, Des Moines, Iowa Fire Department Spokesman said.

Heat radiating from the structure caused significant damage to the EMC Insurance building and hub tower.

"The aluminum is melting, the glass is starting to peel, it's cracked and they have smoke on multiple floor," O'Keefe said.

No injuries have been reported, but firefighters weren't able to search the entire building.

The building is under construction, so fire officials do not believe anyone was inside.

"Intense. That's about the only way you can put it is intense. And a fury of firefighters and cops doing a wonderful job keeping people safe and fighting what seems to be a losing battle,"  McMillen said.

No word what sparked the fire.

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