Injuries reported in blaze that destroyed Valley West Inn; residents were handing kids out of windows to firefighters


WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — A fire at Valley West Inn, a West Des Moines extended stay hotel, has destroyed the building and displaced several people.

West Des Moines Fire Marshall Mike Whitsell said the West Des Moines Fire Department got the call concerning the fire at 11:16 p.m. Monday night. When they arrived, smoke and flames were emerging from inside the building. 

“When our firefighters started getting out of the truck to go and investigate and get the fire out, we had residents everywhere. There were residents in the windows. Some of them were climbing out of the windows. There were other residents that were handing our firefighters kids out of the windows. Infants, young kids. People were coming up to us reporting that other people were trapped,” Whitsell said. 

Two people who were inside the building were sent to local hospitals for treatment and Whitsell said at least one of those people has been treated and released. He said half a dozen residents were treated on the scene by medics.

The Valley West Inn has 127 rooms that were occupied at the time of the fire.

Whitsell said West Des Moines firefighters were outnumbered by residents when they first arrived and it took additional crews from Johnston, Urbandale, Clive, Windsor Heights, and Waukee to get everyone out of the building safely and to control the flames.

One resident, Brad Howard, moved into the extended-stay hotel six months ago. Howard said what started as a peaceful Monday night quickly turned into a dangerous situation.

“Within 15, 20 minutes it was apparent that I needed to get out of the building. I couldn’t see towards the end of the hallway,” Howard said. 

 West Des Moines Fire Department is still investigating what exactly caused the fire but say they’ve pinpointed where it started, in a first-floor unit.

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