Written by Becca Habegger, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
Crews on the scene at 735 Caledonia Place Monday morning
Photo courtesy Amanda Lassance
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -
An early morning fire claimed one life in Dubuque Monday.
Shortly before 5 a.m., crews arrived on the scene at 735 Caledonia Place, next to Hilltop Park.
Later that morning, officials found the body of one victim in the rubble.
Officials have not released the victim's name. Dubuque fire chief Dan Brown said they're waiting for the State Medical Examiner's office to perform an autopsy, which could take about a month to complete.
Although officials haven't confirmed the body's identity, both neighbors and Dubuque property records say the owner of the house and person who lived there was an older man named James, or Jim, Lammer.
Dubuque fire and police officials, including fire marshal Mark Ludescher, were on the scene of the fire throughout the morning.
"The call came in from surrounding neighbors hearing smoke detector and glass breaking," Ludescher said. "When our crews arrived on the scene, the structure was fully involved, with fire coming out of numerous windows. They started an exterior attack, were unable to do an interior attack initially. It continued probably for a half an hour before we could get inside."
That's what neighbor Amanda Lassance saw after sirens woke her up.
"I got up and I looked out our side window here and you could just see the flames, so I woke up my husband and we kind of came down and looked at it and the firefighters had all just started to come," she said.
Photos Lassance took show a raging fire with flames shooting out of the home's windows.
Ludescher said the second floor collapsed onto the first floor and there was four feet of water in the basement. All that made investigating the fire's cause and locating any victim difficult.
Neighbor Warren Kisting lives across the alley from the home and heard and smelled the flames even before fire crews arrived.
"It pretty much consumed the house right away," Kisting said.
He said he and his brother would occasionally check on their older neighbor Jim Lammer.
"My brother checked on him last night, and doors were locked and lights were on about midnight, so figured he was up and around. About 4:30, quarter to five, saw the flames," Kisting said.
According to Dubuque police lieutenant Scott Baxter, police records show several calls to 735 Caledonia Place and two different residents there since 2005, including a medical call, welfare check, two 911 hang-ups and a couple of miscellaneous citizen assists.
Fire officials said, with all the damage, the house is likely a total loss.
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