WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Fire Destroys Historic Property in Downtown Burlington

Aug 6, 2018

The Tama Building in downtown Burlington is considered a total loss following a fire that started late Saturday night. The building was in the final stages of a multi-million dollar restoration project that included upper-story housing and ground level commercial space.

The Burlington Fire Department said the first call came in at about 10:55 p.m. about the five-story building being on fire and that a woman needed to be rescued from the third floor. Crews arrived within four minutes, but the fire was already in an advanced stage.

Firefighters remained on-site for hours to try to stop the fire at the historic Tama building in downtown Burlington
Credit John Lovretta / The Hawkeye

Upon arrival, firefighters extended an aerial ladder truck to the third floor to rescue the unidentified woman, who was calling for help while leaning out of a third story window. She was able to climb down the ladder under her own power.

A total of 6 departments and 53 firefighters responded to the scene.

  • Burlington
  • Danville
  • Fort Madison
  • Mediapolis
  • Mount Pleasant
  • West Burlington

The Burlington Fire Department said two firefighters were taken to the hospital for injuries suffered at the scene. They were both treated and released for non-life threatening injuries. No other injuries were reported.

The Burlington Fire Department says the Tama building is a total loss.
Credit Angie Pella

Firefighters have remained at the scene since the fire started, wetting down hot spots and smoldering remains. The building experienced a partial structural collapse and is considered unstable. Adjacent buildings and apartments were evacuated as a precaution.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.