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Fire Forces Evacuation of Downtown Apartment Building

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A fire at a downtown Des Moines apartment building sent people out of their homes and shut down several city streets Wednesday night.

It all started around 10:30 at the Elliott Apartment building in the 200 block of 4th Street -- right next to Fong's Pizza.

A caller reported heavy smoke coming from the building. When fire crews arrived, they found flames on the second floor.

At that point, they evacuated all residents and everyone inside Fong's Pizza.

Crews were on scene for several hours making sure the fire was extinguished and high outside temperatures made the operation difficult for firefighters. A number became quickly fatigued.

“We have two personnel that are dedicated just to the care of the firefighters. They have to go through a full physical assessment. We check their temperature, their blood pressure, their pulse rate, respiratory rate, hydrate ‘em, if necessary intravenous fluids. Those things that are necessary to make sure that they are taken care of as well,” said Captain Mark Dooley with the Des Moines Fire Department.

We're told all 70 people inside the building got out safely.

The Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter at Central Campus for anyone in need of a place to stay.

There is no word yet on what caused the fire.