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Cause of Maurices fire undetermined

Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 11:36 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, March 28, 2013 11:37 a.m. CST

The cause of a four-alarm fire at Maurices is still under investigation.

Special Agent David Linkletter with the state fire marshal’s office in Des Moines said the fire is not suspicious and probably an electrical fire. However, an unnamed insurance agency is further investigating for cause.

The fire, which began around 9 a.m. Mar. 15 was first discovered by Manager Kayla Hoffman.

Hoffman reported to emergency personnel that a haze of smoke filled the store when she walked in, just before 9 a.m. She walked to the back storage area, where smoke was heavier in the store room.

“When we arrived, there was smoke throughout the building,” said Creston Fire Department Fire Chief Todd Jackson.

According to Jackson, a second alarm was called, which establishes the fire as a “working fire,” to signal volunteer firefighters to respond who might not otherwise be able to leave their day job. With the second alarm, an ambulance from Greater Regional Medical Center responded to provide medical support, and Alliant Energy was notified.

Jackson said, when he arrived shortly after the first fire crew, smoke was coming out of the top roof area, above the storage room.

“A third alarm called out the next two closest fire departments, Orient and Afton,” said Jackson.

According to Jackson, daytime fires have the lowest turn out of volunteer firefighters because they are often unable to leave work.

“In a basic fire structure, you should have 15 firefighters,” said Jackson. “With a commercial building, it should be double that.”

Upon the arrival of the Creston Fire Department, only seven were initially on the scene.

A fourth alarm brought in an additional ladder truck and engine to pump water.

“It takes about an hour to get all of those resources,” said Jackson.

Jackson said a team of firefighters made their way to the roof to ventilate the building before crews went in to remove building material, in an attempt to extinguish the fire.

The fire was contained at 10:15 a.m.

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