DES MOINES, Iowa — Fire investigators still can’t say how a fatal fire began yesterday at the Eddy Apartment Building Thursday afternoon in Des Moines.
Three people were killed in the fire. Authorities are not releasing their names yet as they continue to reach out their next of kin. Two other victims from the fire remain hospitalized.
Fire investigators will be on the scene of the fire to continue their search for a cause. Most of the fire damage in the building is isolated to just a few apartments and the hallways outside them. Investigators are tearing down ceilings and ripping up floor boards to search for clues in the investigation.
The building remains uninhabitable at this time. Authorities are working to determine how soon residents will be able to move back into the undamaged portions of the building. In the interim residents are staying at a shelter at a local church.
The building does have a history of minor fire calls for things including a trash fire and burning food. Fire officials say residents may have grown use to hearing those smaller incidents set off alarms and may not have taken this alarm seriously.
The Eddy was built in the 1920’s and did not have fire sprinklers. A similar building constructed today would be required to have sprinklers. The building did have multiple exits on every floor which is required by building codes today.
Fire investigators say they did find one thing in the building that encouraged them. Two residents who had to be rescued from their fourth floor window were mindful to keep their front door closed as the fire burned in the hallway. Had they opened the door they may have been overcome by smoke. Fire officials say they did the right thing which was to isolate themselves from the fire and search for another exit at their window.