Six apartments were heavily damaged when a fire sparked by an electrical problem spread throughout the attic of a building at Westridge Townhomes in Fort Dodge Thursday night.
No one was injured in the fire, which forced about 10 people to find another place to stay.
Police officers quickly evacuated people from 12 surrounding apartments, while firefighters directed five hose streams onto the blaze.
-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
A Fort Dodge firefighter on a ladder works outside the second floor of a building at 116 Ave. M West Thursday night. The damage from the blaze was concentrated on the second floor and in the attic of the two-story building.
The fire at 116 Ave. M West was reported at 10:22 p.m. Thursday.
Assistant Fire Chief Doug Ostbloom said flames were coming out of the front of the second floor in the center of the building when firefighters arrived. He said the fire spread into the attic throughout the length of the building. Firefighters had to tear down ceilings to get at the flames.
''They worked hard,'' Ostbloom said.
He said flames burned completely through rafters in the attic.
Brittany Hanson, of Fort Dodge, said her mother, Crystal Hanson, lived in one of the apartments in the center of the building, near where the fire started. She said her mother smelled something unusual, then saw smoke. She grabbed her cat named Tuffy and got out of the building.
Brittany Hanson said her mother called her after escaping from the building.
"She was hysterical so we came over,'' she said.
Crystal Hanson was going to stay with relatives in Duncombe, according to her daughter. A representative of the American Red Cross came to the fire scene to help the other residents find temporary lodging.
Eight off-duty firefighters were called in to help at the scene.
Fort Dodge police, Webster County sheriff's deputies, the Iowa State Patrol and paramedics from Trinity Regional Medical Center also responded.
Emergency personnel were on the scene until 2:06 a.m. Friday.
Firefighters returned to the damaged building at about 9 a.m. Friday to assist an investigator from the state fire marshal's office. The investigation was concluded at about 1 p.m.
Assistant Fire Chief Woody Wolfe said the cause of the fire was ''definitely electrical wiring.''
He said fire damage was concentrated in the second floor and attic. He added that four apartments sustained heavy fire damage and two apartments sustained heavy water damage.
Fire Department reports list Richard Clark, of Fort Dodge, as the owner of the property.
Contact Bill Shea at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com