Downtown fire displaces dozens

An early-morning blaze displaced the residents of a local apartment building and injured two others Sunday morning.

The Marshalltown Fire Marshal will continue to investigate the cause of a fire that started on the third floor of The Villager, 105 N. Center St., just after 6 a.m. Firefighters were on scene until just after 3 p.m. but the building’s property manager said they had already stifled the flames by time he arrived on scene roughly 30 minutes after the call came in.

Capt. Don Barker, with the MFD, said paramedics transported two locals to Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center after firefighters evacuated the building. One of the injured suffered burns, but was able to walk to the ambulance unassisted. The other injury was unrelated to the fire. Officials had not released the names of those injured as of Sunday evening.

Dion Perry, The Villager property manager, said the building just had its fire inspection last week. The fire was contained to the apartment where it originated – No. 28. The fire displaced residents in all 30 apartments.

“It got burned up pretty good,” Perry said. “But (firefighters) got it out pretty quick.”

Barker said it has been several years since there was a fire in that building.

The Fire Marshal released the building to Perry just after 3:30 p.m. Sunday, and he said the city will have the final determination as to when the residents can re-occupy the building, but he is hoping that the residents can return by Tuesday.

“We are concerned about structural stability,” Barker said. “Time will tell.”

Although Marshall Area Paramedic Services would not release details of those injured, Perry said the young man who lives in No. 28 suffered burns on his hands and had to be transported to the burn ward in Iowa City.

The Red Cross dispatched eight Disaster Action Team volunteers to assist relocating the families. Kara Kelly, with the Red Cross, said the Coliseum housed one family as of Sunday afternoon, and the Red Cross planned to have housing details – whether at the Coliseum or in hotels – sorted out by Sunday evening. The Red Cross will provide as many as 10 families overnight housing.

“We are still assessing the situation,” she said.

Kelly said the Red Cross has already provided 60 meals, including 20 to emergency responders, and comfort kits, which include toiletries, clothing and other essential home items, to families displaced by the fire.

Several local business owners turned out shortly after the fire offering coffee and blankets to the displaced, Perry said.

“That was overwhelming,” he said. “It made me feel really good to see how many people came out to help.”

The Marshalltown Fire Department assisted on scene after an officer leaving the police department spotted the smoke. The investigation will continue.

To donate to the Red Cross to help the tenants affected by the fire, visit, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (733-27677) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.