Fire on Sunday evening in the Le Mars building qualified as an accident

LE MARS, Iowa — Improperly discarded smoking materials were the likely cause of a fire that severely damaged an apartment building Sunday night in Le Mars.

At approximately 11:56 p.m., The Mars Fire – Rescue was called to a building owned by Fred and Pete Zenk, of The Mars. Upon arrival, firefighters encountered heavy fire on the south exterior side of the building, located at 1070 Seventh Ave., SE

The fire was burning on the exterior terraces of the second and third floors of the building as well as in the attic and the roof. There were six apartments in this section of the 18-unit apartment.

Firefighters quickly knocked down the exterior of the building as police and sheriff’s deputies evacuated residents from the apartments. Firefighters extinguished the fire in two apartments and the attic of the building.

All occupants escaped the building and four cats were located undamaged by firefighters. Firefighters remained at the scene for approximately two hours.

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The origin of the fire was determined to be on a terrace on the south side of the building, Mars Fire Chief David Schipper said.

Three of the six apartments were damaged by fire, water and smoke. They are uninhabitable. People are helped by family, friends and the American Red Cross. The other apartments in the building have been deemed safe to live in.

Damage is estimated at $100,000.

Le Mars Fire – Rescue was assisted at the scene by Le Mars Police, the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, MidAmerican Energy, the Orange City Fire Department and the American Red Cross.

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