Fire claims former Iowa department store building - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Fire claims former Iowa department store building

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A massive fire swept through a more than century-old building that was being renovated in downtown Des Moines early Saturday morning, causing its upper floors to collapse and authorities to close down numerous streets. No one was injured.

Des Moines Fire Department spokesman Brian O'Keefe said it first got word of a fire at the former Younkers department store building at about 12:50 a.m. Saturday, and arrived to find flames leaping from the upper floors of the seven-floor building, which dates to 1899.

He said about an hour later, the top floors of the building had collapsed.

"As they were looking into the floors, every floor they were checking had heavy smoke and fire damage," O'Keefe told the Des Moines Register. "They could hear internal collapses occurring. So the command pulled those people out and gave an evacuation signal."

The Younkers store was a landmark in Des Moines for years, but the building closed in 2005. In September, a Wisconsin-based company began turning it into apartments and retail space, a $36 million project.

Authorities said it wasn't clear what sparked the blaze.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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