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THANKSGIVING FIRE: Montezuma Apartments Destroyed

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A day after many central Iowa families took time to give thanks, Dakota Cook, his mother, and two siblings stare into this pile of debris.

In it is everything they once owned.

"Pictures and my grandma's necklace that my grandpa gave her," said Cook.

The devastation is the result of a fire that volunteer fire fighter Bret Warden says started in the basement.

He was preparing a turkey across the street when he saw smoke coming from the building.

"That's when my turkey day changed," Warden told Channel 13 News.

Thanks to Warden's quick thinking, everyone was evacuated safely.

In the five minutes it took to get a fire truck to the scene, the smoke turned into flames.

"It was already starting to come out some of the corners."

Cook and his family could only watch as fire fighters from several towns worked to contain the fire.

"There is no words to describe how it feels knowing everything you have is gone."

For Cook, it's been tough to count his blessings following this tragedy but the community has been actively trying to help.

"I know the Red Cross is helping them out by putting them in a hotel and people have donated a lot of things," said Warden.

During the toughest of times, Cook says he's giving thanks for his family.

"I find comfort in that," said Cook.

11:49 AM

An off duty firefighter making Thanksgiving dinner may have saved the people living in an apartment building from a fire that totaled the structure.

The Des Moines Register reports a firefighter was outside of his home deep frying a turkey and noticed smoke coming from the basement of the nearby apartment building in Montezuma.

He ran inside the building and warned the people living there to get out before calling 911.

When fire crews got there, the flames were spreading to the upper floors.

No one was injured, but the building is a total loss.