Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fire destroys building in downtown Oskaloosa

May 30, 2007

A building that served as a livery and stable at least 100 years ago was destroyed by fire early Thursday in downtown Oskaloosa.

"When we got there, it was in the attic and just starting to go through the roof," Oskaloosa Fire Chief Daryl Chess said.

A Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy on patrol discovered the fire shortly after midnight May 23, Sheriff's Lt. Rick Jones said.

"We've got severe damage anyway, but that probably saved a lot more property from damage," Jones said.

The building was in the center of the block on the north side of the square, across from the Jefferson County Courthouse. It is owned by Karl Swoyer. Two businesses were in the building: Pia Friends Realty and His and Her Hair Styling.

Firefighters from several surrounding departments were called to help, Chess said, and about 30 volunteer firefighters fought the blaze.

"We went into a protection and containing mode, and the fire didn't get to the other structures," Chess said.

The fire never got to the ground floor, but the building's roof collapsed, he said.

According to Chess, the fire was caused by an electrical problem.

The fire was under control by 3:30 a.m. and extinguished by 4 a.m., he said. The last firefighters left about 6 a.m.

Chess was hesitant to estimate the amount of damage to the building but said it was destroyed.

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