Overnight fire destroys historic building in Burlington

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BURLINGTON, Iowa  --  Burlington Fire Department were called to the scene at 3rd and Jefferson Street at 10:55 pm last night, Saturday August 4th, for a fire at the five story Tama Building.

They quickly called for back up. Danville, Ft . Madison, Mediapolis, Mt. Pleasant, and West Burlington Fire Departments all arrived on scene.

Crews began tackling the flames from inside, but determined it was unsafe and too hot, so they had to exit the building and fight the flames from the street.

A woman was trapped on the third floor of the building. She could not exit the building, because flames had overtaken the stairwells. The Burlington Fire Department was able to rescue her from a window with their ladder truck. She did not have any injuries.

Two firefighters were injured early last night while fighting the fire. One suffered from smoke inhalation and the other had back trouble. They have since been released from the hospital.

The historic building has been apart of Burlington since the 1800s. It suffered from a fire in the basement in 2009 and has been vacant ever since. They have spent the last two years renovating the building. They planned for the upper floors to be apartments and the bottom floor to become a popcorn shop. The renovations were set to be done in October.

Burlington Fire Chief Matt Trexel says the building will now have to be demolished. Surrounding roads will be closed until then, due to the collapsing building and the debris in the streets.

Chief Trexel says the cause and exact location is undetermined. Due to the building be unstable, the state Fire Marshal cannot go inside to investigate. They do know the fire began on one of the upper stories and in the back building.

Crews were on scene for 18 hours today spraying water on the still smoking remains. Community members brought them snacks and waters.

Burlington Fire Department will be back at the building tomorrow to clear debris.

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