Marengo man killed in apartment fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Marengo man killed in apartment fire

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MARENGO (KWWL)-- A Marengo man is dead following an apartment fire early Sunday morning.  We're told the victim was 43-year-old Neal Duncan.  A fire broke out in the building in the 1100 block of Court Street just after 1 a.m.  Five fire departments were called in to help put it out.

The building is now gutted and unlivable.  Residents inside were woken up by police and scrambled to evacuate.  But for one man, when rescue crews arrived, it was too late.  

"It's a big tragedy for us," said Shirley Alford-Arends, fire victim.

Just a few days before what's supposed to be the most wonderful time of year, a handful of eastern Iowans are out of a home after their Marengo apartment building went up in flames.

"We've lost everything.  We have nothing.  All of our Christmas stuff is gone.  Everything is completely gone.  The only thing I have is the clothes I have on right now," Alford Arends said.

But that's the least of the family's worries.  Alford Arends' cousin, Neal Duncan, died during the blaze.  So she and her husband Bob feel lucky to be alive.

"I believe if we would've been in there another 15-20 minutes, maybe a bit longer, we wouldn't have made it out," said Alford Arends.

They know it will take a long time to recover from the fire.  So this holiday, they'll hang tight to the memories of their loved one.

"He was an outstanding, funny, loving person.  He loved to help people, loved animals.  He was just a very nice person.  He was all over this town on a bicycle.  He was just very nice.  Everyone knows him," she said.

The hair salon next to the apartment building also sustained some damage.  And officials are still trying to determine exactly what started the fire.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross is now providing assistance to the seven adult residents of the apartment building who were displaced by the fire.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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