Police Say Business Owner’s Quick Thinking Helped Keep People Safe During Fire

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Police say a business owner's quick thinking got everyone out of the way of a fire that could have been much worse had he not contacted authorities in time.

Fire officials say Nico McQuist, the owner of Lifestyle Juices, alerted them to smoke coming from a rooftop in the 2400 block of University Avenue near Drake University around 6:30 p.m.

“They told me to tell everybody to get out of the building, so I ran around to all the buildings and told everyone, ‘get out of the building, there’s a fire on the roof. The fire truck is on the way,’” said McQuist.

Fire crews say a small fire had broken out on the roof of these apartments located above a number of businesses. Crews had to evacuate the building while they worked to put it out. They say there was minimal damage to the property and everyone is back home tonight.

Police say they are grateful for the neighbor's quick action.

“Mr. McQuist had taken me directly to where the fire was and we made sure all the businesses were evacuated. He'd already evacuated most of them. By the time we're running up the stairs, he's pounding on the doors to get everyone out and single-handedly cleared out the building and kept everyone safe. So today he's a hero,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Andrew Phipps.

Fire crews leaving that scene then had to respond to another fire on the city's south side. Officials say a fire broke out in a pile of leaves next to this home in the 900 block of Hackley Avenue. It then spread to the side of the house.

No one was home at the time, but a neighbor saw smoke and called 911. No one was hurt.

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