Fire Damages Downtown Business
Oskaloosa, Iowa – A fire has damaged the downtown ‘pop-up mall’ Oskaloosa Antiques and Arts Mall located at 203 High Ave East.
The building sustained moderate fire and smoke damage from a fire that had originated in a dumpster located behind the building. Fire damage was contained to the rear portion of the building where the kitchen is located. Fire made its way up the exterior of the building, damaging the sky-walk that connected the two buildings over the alleyway.
“The guys contained it to the back area where it first broke through,” stated Oskaloosa Fire Chief Mark Neff.
Neff said the fire is suspicious in nature, with the initial investigation pointing towards a dumpster fire. The dumpster sat below an old window that had been covered by plywood.
The call came in at 5:44 am, and crews remained on scene until 7:11 am. 3 apartments had to be evacuated during that time.
The building housed Wilcox-Garland Furniture for years before Tammy McMain purchased the building in 2011 from the former owner, Bob Jones.
McMains was surveying the damaged caused by the fire early Thursday morning. She was saddened by the damage to the building, and in particular, one of its unique features, a skywalk that connected two downtown buildings.
“I don’t want my catwalk to go,” McMains said, as she surveyed the damage.
McMains, who was in the alley continuing to clean up debris, looked at the apartment doors nearby and said, “The worst thing is, they could have cost human lives… I don’t care about any of this [as she pointed to the damaged building].”