Adjacent buildings were also severely damaged due to the fire.
Due to the extensive damage, as well as its high profile, the Iowa Task Force 1 and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ response team will assist in the investigation with the Des Moines Fire Department.
Local media has reported the following information regarding this weekend’s events:
- The fire at the former Younkers building in downtown Des Moines was first reported at 12:52 a.m. Saturday.
- The fire lasted more than 4.5 hours, and was under control around 5:30 a.m. Suburban firefighters were released to join the effort to stop the blaze.
- A sprinkler system was in the process of being installed – but was not working.
- The building is considered an asbestos-contaminated site. A state inspector said it is unlikely that anyone has been exposed to harmful levels of the cancer-causing fiber.
If you need to get around downtown, take extra precaution and be aware of the many street closures and blocked off areas.
It is without a doubt that this weekend’s blaze has affected many Iowans. We are very grateful of the many firefighters and leaders who are taking precaution to assure public safety.