Walnut Ridge Building “Beyond Repair”

Ankeny Fire and Police Department faced heavy gunfire for more than an hour on Tuesday at Walnut Ridge Apartments, north of the city.

The fire started shortly before 3 p.m. on the third floor of the building, located at 217 Northeast 12th Street Place, according to firefighters.

Daniel Schellhase, head of the Ankeny Fire Department’s training and safety division, said no one was in the apartment and everyone would be safe.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown and is under investigation, but the damage it has caused is severe. Much of the building’s roof appeared to be missing and firefighters said the building also suffered extensive smoke and water damage.

Firefighters fight flames rising from the roof and attic of a building in the Walnut Ridge Apartments complex on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, in Ankeny.

Craig Fraser, the fire chief of the Ankeny Fire Department, said he believed the tenants in the building were likely to be moved permanently, calling the structure “beyond the repair “and saying the owners” should probably tear it down. “

Schellhase said the age of the building, the lack of a firebreak in the attic and the lack of sprinklers made fighting the fire more difficult to control.

Montina Branch, 50, lived on the first floor of the building and said she was working from home on Tuesday when she heard a woman moving down the hall, knocking on residents’ doors, urging them to evacuate as quickly as possible possible.

“For some reason there was no alarm today,” she said.

Once outside, Branch said the fire was small at first, but grew quickly and led to a propane tank exploding on a third-floor balcony.

“My nerves have been shot,” she said. “It was surreal.”

Firefighters fight flames rising from the roof and attic of a building in the Walnut Ridge Apartments complex on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, in Ankeny.

Fire departments across the metro assisted in the emergency response. The American Red Cross and Polk County Emergency Management were also on site, assisting displaced residents.

Rob Inouye, senior disaster program manager at the American Red Cross, said the most immediate need for the residents of the building will be to find a place to stay until they are allowed to return to the building. their units.

Inouye said food, clothing, medical supplies and finding a place to sleep will be top of his team’s priorities.

“All of these things that we take for granted,” he said.

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