UPDATE: Fire damages Decorah businesses - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Fire damages Decorah businesses

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UPDATE: Smoke from a downtown Decorah fire Wednesday afternoon could be seen from as far away as Calmar.

The fire damaged at least two buildings, but there weren't any injuries, thanks to some good timing.

"My father was on the fire department for 30-plus years so he taught me everything, and my first thought was the people," said Megan Lien, who works next door to the apartment that caught fire.

Lien was coming back from lunch when she saw the flames on the back deck.

"I don't want to say panic mode, but I went into our building and got everybody. I said, 'The back of the other building is on fire.' I went through and got everybody out," said Lien.

Then she went next door and got the people out of the shop below the apartment that was on fire.

Viewer video taken from the front of the two buildings shows how quickly the smoke took over; black smoke fuming out the front door.

In the back, fire crews arrived to heavy flames.  With the potential to spread to the connected buildings, the department called on Calmar Fire for help.

"When we first got on scene, I knew it was going to be a pretty extensive fire. It is our first warm day out.  I knew my guys were going to start getting a little tired, so I figured we better call in mutual aid," said Jeff Clement of the Decorah Fire Department.

The fire was contained quickly, saving the storefronts in Decorah's main business district. From the front, a few smoke marks are the only sign of the fire.  From the back, significant damage to the second-floor apartment is visible. It's unclear how much damage INSPIRE+D - Indie Artisan Marketplace, which is below the apartment, suffered.

West Music tells KWWL they have only minor smoke and water damage. The inventory seems to be okay.

The fire started on the deck of the upstairs apartment, but the cause remains under investigation.


According to fire crews, the fire started on the second-floor deck of an apartment above INSPIRE+D - Indie Artisan Marketplace on Water Street in downtown Decorah. The fire caused significant damage to the apartment and likely INSPIRE+D, and minor damages to the West Music store next door. 

The Decorah and Calmar Fire Departments were able to put out the fire before it damaged other buildings. 

There were no injuries reported. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but an investigation will take place later this week. 

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