YOUNKERS FIRE: Work Of Investigators Begins

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

National investigators are meeting with Des Moines fire crews Monday in an effort to figure out how a massive fire started that claimed a historic building downtown.

The former Younkers building caught fire early Saturday morning. Fire crews battled the blaze throughout the day and stayed on scene Saturday night to extinguish hot spots.

The ATF National Response Team is on scene and is beginning its investigation into the cause of the fire. The team has up to 18 people and includes special agents, chemists, and engineers. The agency’s state-of-the art equipment has also been brought in.


The 115-year-old building was a key part of the Walnut Street revitalization project but now all that remains is a burned-out shell and piles of rubble.

Developers had planned to convert the building into housing and retail space.