After two fires in the heart of downtown Gladbrook within the same week, other neighboring businesses are concerned the fire will spark back up again.
A fire happened overnight Sunday into early Monday morning at an old hardware store on Second Street in Gladbrook. Crews responded to the fire around 2:30 a.m. Surrounding area fire crews also came in to battle the blaze. The fire caused the building to collapse, but firefighters were able to put out the fire.
The fire caused extensive damage to the building next door where Smith;s General Store is located. The owner, Barb Smith, says there is extensive smoke and structural damage in their building.
Also adding to the frustration, Smith says her business as well as others in downtown Gladbrook were broken into and robbed after the fire.
Throughout the night, and into the next day the debris continued to smolder. Fire crews worked around the clock to check on the fire and contain any sparks.
Despite their efforts, the smoldering debris sparked a fire that spread into the building right next door.
"We think there's some residual fire that's underneath those bricks and it started some boards and came through the wall," said Gladbrook Fire Chief Matt Koester.
Wednesday morning around 7 a.m. fire crews responded to a fire in the basement of the Masonic Temple. The Masonic Temple is a fraternal organization that has occupied the building for 26 years. Firefighters were able to contain the fire in the basement.
Buildings in downtown Gladbrook are largely older structures, and although they have fire walls to help slow down the fire, it's not a guarantee to stop it. The possibility of the fire sparking and spreading has neighboring businesses concerned.
The possibility of the fire sparking and spreading has neighboring businesses concerned.
Mandy Boldt owns Spanky's Restaurant, which sits just a few buildings over from where the fire started.
"I think about the fact that we've only been open since February, and it was a year ago now that we were really rebuilding this place and making it what our dream was today, and it's a tough thing to think that you could lose it all in a heartbeat," said Boldt.
Even after battling two fires, Gladbrook firefighters say they will continue to check on the smoldering debris throughout the night.
"The comradery we saw is just beyond any other group of men that I've ever seen," said Boldt. "I've never been on the front line of something like that, so it was amazing to see it all come together."
Leslie Hospitality owner Edwin Leslie says he doesn't have anything to hide, and to prove it he invited the public to view all of the documents, emails, agreements, and financial statements related to the deal at a public meeting this morning.