Wind-Driven Fire Burns Construction Site, 7-Story Tower Under Construction at Hieronymus Square, Burlington St and Clinton St, Iowa City

Fire in downtown Iowa City, across from The University of Iowa, March 5th, 2019.

Iowa City firefighters responded about 2:48 p.m. Tuesday March 5, 2019 to a fire in a seven-story high-rise that is under construction.

Fire was showing when firefighters arrived, and a crane operator was still inside the crane high above the fire. The crane operator was not in immediate danger, but according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Iowa City firefighter Andy Wulfekuhle climbed to the top of the crane to fit the operator with a belt for his climb down.

Fire Marshal Brian Greer said the fire started in a third floor room that had a temporary 10′ by 10′ tent structure used as a warming area for subfloor adhesives that were combustible. The tent housed several cases of the adhesives and a liquid propane-fueled radiant heater. The heater, which was fueled by a liquid propane tank outside the tent, ignited the combustibles in the tent and started the fire. High winds quickly spread the fire horizontally and vertically.

A flames spread across the third floor, the liquid propane tank started to vent, providing more fuel until it exploded.

During the next week, the damage areas of the building were being demolished, and the project is expected to be delayed about 30 days.

The estimated loss is $1,000,000. The retail, office, residential and hotel construction project is being funded at almost $41 million.

According to the Press-Citizen, plans for the Hieronymus Square project, approved in September 2017, include two seven-story buildings joined in the middle by a two-story vestibule. The building that was burning at the corner of Clinton and Burlington streets, is planned to include commercial space on the first floor, office space on the second and housing on the third through seventh floors, totaling 45 housing units.

The second building to the south will be a 91-room extended-stay hotel, called Element.


See also …

Council unanimously approves $8 million TIF for Hieronymus Square project

Council unanimously approves $8 million TIF for Hieronymus Square project

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Due to a large structure fire Downtown on Tuesday afternoon, streets have been closed, bus routes have been rerouted and a parking ramp has been closed.

A fire at a construction site near the intersection of East Burlington Street and South Clinton Street started Tuesday afternoon.

East Burlington Street between South Clinton Street and South Dubuque Street will be closed overnight tonight. Due to the closure, bus routes will be detoured to East Prentiss Street and East Market Street. Several bus stops in Downtown will be missed.

The Court Street Transportation Center is also currently closed, but cars already parked there can leave the ramp.

The Dubuque Street parking ramp is open, but those exiting the ramp will be detoured east onto Burlington.

The City still cautions drivers to avoid the area if possible during the street closure.

— Iowa City