Lightning strike causes fire at longtime Marshalltown area business

A lightning strike is thought to be the cause of an early morning fire Monday at a Marshalltown ice cream shop.

The Marshalltown Fire Department responded to a fire at Ev’s Dairy Products, 2205 1/2 S. Center St., just before 6 a.m. Monday morning after a call was made to the communications center of smoke coming from the roof.

Fire Chief Steve Edwards said when crews arrived, smoke was coming out of the eves of the second floor of the building and once inside they were able to pinpoint the fire to the attic. Firefighters were on scene for nearly two hours.

“It was hit by lightning,” Edwards said. “It got into the wiring and the electricity came through the wiring and caught the building on fire.”

Howard Perry, owner of Ev’s who lives above the business, was home in bed at the time of the fire. He said he remembers hearing a loud noise, and then a few minutes later, someone was outside his bedroom window yelling for him to get out of the building.

“At quarter to six we heard a big boom,” Perry said. “I didn’t think nothing of it, then we heard this guy outside our window yelling, ‘get out of the house; your house is on fire.'”

Perry said much of the building suffered extreme water, smoke and fire damage and he is without electricity. He said he’s not sure how long Ev’s will be closed.

“We could be closed for two weeks or two months,” he said. “Everything can be replaced, that’s the main thing.”

This fire was the third in a string of fires that broke out in Marshalltown over the weekend.

Fire crews also responded to a fire reported at 112 S. 12th Street just after 4 p.m. Friday. When the fire department arrived, smoke was coming out of the windows of the home.

Firefighters located the blaze in the basement, which was determined to be caused by a clothes dryer, Edwards said.

One firefighter was injured and transported to Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. The firefighter was treated and released, Edwards said.

Another fire broke out at a home located at 607 Woodbury St. just before 10 p.m. Saturday night.

Edwards said when crews arrived, they located the fire on the rear of the home in the attic and roof area. A heating torch being used to repair the roof is thought to be the cause.

Edwards said it is a rare occurrence for the fire department to respond to so many structure fires in such a short amount of time, but said none of the fires are suspicious or connected.

“This isn’t very common,” he said.

The fires were all under control quickly, Edwards said.