BUSY DAY: Five Des Moines House Fires In 13 Hours

Des Moines firefighters had their work cut out for them Tuesday, going from fire to fire from morning until night.

Over a 13 hour period starting at 2:30 Tuesday morning and ending at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon, Des Moines firefighters responded to five house fire calls.

Crews started the morning with an electrical fire in the 1100 block of Scott Avenue. Four adults and four kids were able to get out after they heard the smoke alarms going off in the home.

Less than two hours later another electrical fire sparked in the 2800 block of SE 14th.
Two police officers patrolling the area saw smoke coming from the home and woke the family up.

Two more fires happened in the 10:00 hour in which no one was hurt.

A fifth electrical fire started around 3:00 in the 800 block of Livingston.

Officials say, this many calls is unusual especially because they’re not connected in any way.

“When you think about what caused it, was it weather was it a storm? No.High winds? No. Ice? No. We don`t have anything that ties them all together here today,” says Brian O’Keefe with the Des Moines Fire Department.

The Greater Iowa American Red Cross was also busy.

“The Red Cross is always happy to help and our volunteers. Why we hate going out is because that means something has happened, they`re really happy to be there and provide comfort for the family,” says Regional Communications Officer Kara Kelly with the American Red Cross.

The team responded to six fires; four in Polk County and one in both Madison and Plymouth Counties.

Out of those two families are being helped out by the Red Cross.

“In these situations typically we help with immediate needs so put families up in a hotel for a couple of days and then provide money so they can buy food and clothing and any other immediate items or toiletries that they might need,” says Kelly.

Fire officials say while most of the fires were caused by electrical malfunctions there are still ways to protect your home.

“If its light switch or outlet covers make sure those are covered, always keeps your fuse box door closed because if there is arching or sparking when the circuit breaker pops it doesn’t extend or cause a fire,” says O’Keefe.

The five fires Tuesday ranged from $2,000-$40,000 in damage.