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Fire that destroyed historic Davenport home now under criminal investigation

Update:

Davenport Fire Marshal Jim Morris says the fire at a historic three story residence in the early morning hours of May 10th is suspicious and is now being treated as a criminal investigation.

The house at 726 W. 6th street now faces emergency demolition.

Firefighters arrived to find fire showing on the second floor of the three-story, single family residence, according to District Chief Mike Ryan. The home had been vacant for some time and had structural issues.

A press release says, "as fire quickly spread to the third floor, Chief Ryan ordered a defensive operation due to the size of the fire, structural concerns and the vacancy of the house."

Mid-American Energy Company was called to disconnect power to an overhead power line because a power pole caught fire.

Public Works employees set up barricades for scene safety and work is underway to secure emergency demolition.

What makes this home historic? 
According to the press release, the brick house, built circa 1880, was the home of Hans H. and Marie E. Andresen in the late 19th century, according to Community Planning and Economic Development Department documents for the Hamburg Historical District nomination. Hans Andresen was the president of the German Savings Bank.

Original Story:

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Davenport firefighters responded to a structure fire in the Gold Coast Neighborhood on 6th Street, west of Gaines Street early Thursday morning. As they arrived just after 3 a.m., they found a three story residence fully engulfed in flames.

The building, dating back to the 19th century, was vacant at the time and no one was injured. Firefighters tell News 8 the building is considered a total loss. News 8's Jesyka Dereta talked with a woman at the scene who said her brother owned the property. She said that he recently died and the family is now mourning the loss of him and his beautiful home. The woman said he had plans of rehabbing it.

Neighbors say they woke up early to a loud noise early Thursday morning.

"I look out my window and sure enough, I see the house up in flames, and I'm like, 'Wow. That's crazy," Gold Coast resident Zack Sherbeyn said.

"It's been a cornerstone of the historic neighborhood for a long time," Davenport District Fire Chief Mike Ryan said. "Structures like this probably will not be rebuilt."

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.

Power was knocked out briefly in the area, but it has since been restored. 6th Street is closed at this time.