Historic Des Moines building housing memorial for Black children burns; investigators looking into cause


DES MOINES, Iowa — An investigation is underway after a historic Des Moines building turned memorial caught fire early Wednesday morning.

Des Moines police and fire were called to 1601 6th Avenue around 5:00 a.m. on reports of a structure fire.

The structure is vacant but the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement had been using the front porch as a makeshift memorial for missing and killed Black children.

The historic building is the former North Des Moines City Council building and is part of a multi-million dollar restoration along the 6th Avenue corridor.

BLM does not own the building but is using the damage to call on residents to replenish the memorial with red, yellow and purple flowers that had been honoring the lives lost to tragedy.

“Even if you don’t have a personal connection you can understand other people’s suffering when you hear their story when you hear the story of the families of the missing and murdered young women of color and you don’t need to do anything extravagant just any support you can show is still possible,” said Joe Ellerbrook.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is still under investigation

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