Des Moines Apartment Building Destroyed in Early Morning Blaze

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DES MOINES, Iowa – A fire at the Willow Park Apartments on Des Moines’ south side early Thursday morning has left dozens of residents without a home.

Fire crews were called to the scene at 6514 Chaffee Rd. around 12:15 a.m. and when they arrived flames were seen coming from the first and second floors with heavy smoke coming from the roof of the building.

All of the residents were evacuated quickly, with many making sure their neighbors were out before exiting the building themselves.

The flames engulfed the building and fire crews battled the blaze for hours. A similar fire at Willow Park Apartments happened in 2017, due to the building aging.

Lt. Chris Bolton with the Des Moines Fire Department said, “It’s always concerning with these structures out here. The style of roof and it’s a non-sprinkler system. These were built before code got in to be able to get the sprinkler systems in here.”

One Willow Park resident, James Sheets, told Channel 13 he’s lived in the complex for 15 years and this is the third major fire that has happened while he’s been a resident.

“I’ve lost everything in there, so what are you going to do. I should feel more upset than I do. It’s just one of those things,” Sheets said.

The Red Cross is on scene to help the residents who were displaced by the fire.

Fire crews are staying on scene to monitor hot spots and make sure the site is secure.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

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