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WATCH: Ottumwa Bridal Cottage Total Loss Following Fire

By Ellis Codjoe, January 06, 2018

A downtown Ottumwa business is a total loss after a fire broke out shortly after closing time on Saturday.

Ottumwa firefighters were called to the Bridal Cottage, in the 200 block of East Second Street in Downtown Ottumwa, at approximately 5:15 Saturday afternoon. The business had closed for the day just 15 minutes prior.

Ottumwa Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge told Ottumwa Radio News that the fire started on the second floor of the building. “It was going pretty good when we got here,” Benge said. “Nobody really goes up there so it may have been going for a while, even while the business was open.”

Benge says the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Crews were forced to evacuate the building after approximately 15 minutes and take up defensive positions outside.

Crews spent more than five hours on scene, trying to prevent the fire from spreading to adjoining buildings.

“That’s the primary concern right now,” Benge said. “There is a thick firewall between the buildings, which should help.”

Thomas R. Cardella and Associates and Rent-A-Center both share a wall with the Bridal Cottage. Both appeared to be full of smoke while firefighters were battling the blaze.

Crews were forced to return late in the night after the fire rekindled.

Additionally, hot embers, sometimes still flaming, appeared to be falling on other downtown buildings, especially in the 100 and 200 blocks of East Main Street.

Benge said that crews used a rare all-call, which calls in all off-duty firefighters. The Wapello County Rural Volunteer Fire Department responded to other calls in the city, including medical emergencies.

There was nobody inside the structure when the fire started. One firefighter reported injuries after he slipped on ice, but was not transported to the hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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