Des Moines Water Surge to Blame For Two Dozen Fire Alarms in 20 Minutes


Des Moines Fire Department (WHO-HD)

Data pix.

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Over two dozen fire alarms in 20 minutes put fire crews from all corners of Des Moines into service Saturday morning.

"It was mainly confined to the south side of Des Moines, the west side of Des Moines and downtown area," said Lt. Rick Thomas with the Des Moines Fire Department.

Fire officials say 26 alarms were triggered at locations throughout the city shortly after 5 a.m.  Some included were the Polk County Justice Center, Nationwide Insurance, Mainframe Studios on Keo Way and Broadlawns Medical Center.  Des Moines Water Works officials say a routine pump change, done multiple times a day, caused the surge when a pump failed to go offline for two minutes.  Investigators are looking into whether or not a large water main break at 2nd Avenue and University Avenue played a role as well.

Despite no damage at the locations, Thomas says he is happy with the fast response and cooperation from residents.  "It's an overwhelming amount, but we were able to respond in a sufficient time.  Any time a fire alarm goes off, you want to evacuate. It's just a standard practice that should be practiced and applied during that time," Thomas said.

Thomas says all locations were clear and residents were able to go back inside before 6 a.m.


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