Cascade fire damages salon; cause was accidental - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cascade fire damages salon; cause was accidental

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CASCADE (KWWL) -

A Friday morning fire left one area business-owner with weeks of repairs and likely thousands of dollars in damage.

Officials responded just after 7 a.m. Friday to a report of a fire in Cascade, in the 200 block of First Avenue West.

The fire began in the rear of the building that houses Dreams to Reality salon, located at 216 First Avenue West. Fire chief Denny Green said the majority of the damage happened in the back of the business.

Green said the cause of the fire was determined to be accidental. He said the salon's owner had been using a small propane hand torch to age wood for decoration, when the insulation and wall caught fire and blazed out of the man's control.

"We were going to make it look better, and accidents happen," salon owner Angie Payne said of the decorative work gone awry. "Some of the insulation caught on fire, and he tried to get it out and he couldn't, so he called right away."

Green said a quick attack limited the worst of the damage to one building. That's important, considering most of the buildings along that block of Cascade's First Avenue West are attached to each other.

"They all share a wall, so all the walls are connected," Green said, explaining why fires in these densely-packed downtown areas have the potential to be devastating. "You have structural members through the brick wall. The fire can travel right down a floor joist into the next building. A lot of the attics are connected with crawl spaces, so if it does get up into the attic, it can go right across and affect a whole block, a lot of times."

Dreams to Reality sustained substantial damage, according to Green, while an upstairs apartment sustained smoke damage and the attached buildings on either side sustained minor smoke damage.

Payne was renting the apartment to her two sons, who were inside when the fire started, along with one of the man's girlfriend.

"You can replace buildings. You can't replace children or girlfriends or family or anybody, so, that's the most important part," Payne said.

Green credits a fast response as well as Cascade's newly-updated city water system for keeping the fire from spreading further.

"They re-did a lot of the water mains and stuff, so that helped us tremendously," Green said, "and it's going to get even better here in the next six months; they're doing some more work."

Payne said she hopes to re-open the salon as soon as she can.

Also assisting in the fire were crews from Bernard, Monticello, Worthington and Dubuque.

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