Col Ballroom battles flames after car crashes into gas main

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DAVENPORT, Iowa – Debra Riessen woke up at 3 a.m. to flames outside her apartment window.  She says it all happened so fast.

“I heard a crash and a ‘woosh’,” Riessen remembers.

Leigh Reitz, the Col Ballroom's owner, was up too.

“I just got a phone call at four in the morning saying a car hit my building and it was on fire and my building was on fire,” says Reitz.

Early this morning the famous Davenport Col Ballroom was up in flames.

“I didn’t know if the building was going to explode or not,” says Riessen.

Police say the fire started after a speeding car lost control and crashed into the side of the building.  But not before running into a traffic sign, the front railing, and then the gas main.

Riessen immediately called 911.

After trying to get help, people like Riessen in surrounding buildings had to evacuate because of a gas leak.

Reitz was thinking the worst for her historic property.

“I of course don’t want it to burn up and I’m having a party big dance at the end of October,” Reitz remarks.

After three years of calling this place her own, she planned to put this place up for sale at the end of the month.  She says the building’s strong foundation saved the inside from any damage.

Even though this is a setback, people will still be dancing on until the end of the month when the ballroom closes.

Police say the driver of the car who hit the building ran off.  Rock Island police were originally trying to pull the driver over for a routine traffic violation.

There were no arrests made.

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