UPDATE: Fire marshal investigates fire at recycling facility - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Fire marshal investigates fire at recycling facility

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Nearly a day after a fire sparked in eastern Iowa, fire crews remained on scene containing the hot spots. The fire started last night inside the old City Carton building, which is now owned by Republic Services near the Iowa River in Iowa City.

Firefighters were on scene till 11:00 a.m. today, making sure the fire didn't start up again. This afternoon, snow fell on the scorched recycling center, nearly a day after flames started boiling out of the building.

"It was a defensive fire pretty early in the scene because of the structural collapse that was occurring, so our crews kind of just surrounded and sprayed water on the outside and tried to hold it off," said Battalion Chief Zach Hickman, Iowa City Fire Department. 

Fire crews were called to East Benton Street around 4:30 p.m. Friday and initially had trouble finding the fire.

"Crews arrived on scene and they had a hard time locating the exact location of the fire right off the bat," said Chief Hickman. "By the time they did, after several minutes, the fire had already progressed rapidly being in a recycling center...that contributed to a lot of the fire spread."

The paper and cardboard held at the facility only fueled the flames ripping through the building.

"Because of the fire load that was on scene, the recyclable cardboard that was there, it was in bails and was hard to get to, it contributed to the fire spread," said Chief Hickman.

Firefighters say they were able to keep the fire from spreading to the other side of the building. They had that fire contained within a couple of hours.

"It was hard to get to some of the spots...the design of the building, being a metal structure, made it difficult to reach some of the areas," said Chief Hickman. "We had a roof and wall collapse which also covered some of the fire and made it difficult to get to. It took them a couple of hours to get it under control and we had crews there till about 11:00 this morning extinguishing hot spots."

Iowa City's Fire Marshal was on scene today working to find where the fire started and the cause. At last check, no cause has been found. Right now,  firefighters say they plan to review surveillance video from the recycling center as part of their investigation. They say nobody was hurt.

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