YOUNKERS FIRE: Site To Be Released To Owners

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On Sunday, federal agents finished their on-site investigation and concluded that the Younkers building fire in downtown Des Moines was not started intentionally.

However, they still do not know a cause.

With the ATF team moving out, the investigation moves to a recovery effort, and that means a lot more on the city’s hands and clean-up for surrounding businesses.

The Des Moines Fire Chief says bringing in the ATF helped all involved.

“We saved weeks to months in order to begin the private and public recovery efforts, without large collaborative effort we would be well into the summer before other businesses could clean up site and get back to business,” says TeKippe.

Monday, TeKippe was joined by the Assistant City Manager and the Director of Community Development to update the Des Moines City Council on the recovery process.

TeKippe thanked everyone who has been involved in the investigation so far.

The Des Moines Fire Department has completed their work and is no longer controlling the site. The custody of the site now reverts to the property owners, and that transition will happen early this week. For now the police department is in control of the area around the site.

“So as we see it, the next steps will be establishing the private perimeter of the construction site, establishing fencing to keep the curious out and away, allowing limited access for construction professionals, engineers, trades people so they can evaluate, they being the business owners, the needs that they have to move forward,” says Phil Delafield.

The glass on the Younkers building remains a concern, it’s loose and unsupported, and so it can fall. City leaders are talking to business owners on how to protect the exit ways leading from the building until that glass is stabilized.

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