Early morning blaze destroys home, claims two dogs


Fire breaks out in home just east of Hy-Vee on 26th Street


FORT MADISON - Fort Madison firefighters worked to extinguish a structure fire at a home in the 1200 block of 26th Street just east of Hy-Vee early Friday morning.

According to Fort Madison Fire Chief Joey Herren, the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but he said firefighters were pulled from inside the building when he arrived on scene due to the uncertainty of the structure's stability, and the amount of debris inside.

Firefighters were called to the scene just after 5 a.m.

"I'm familiar with this building and there's just a lot of debris in there. We weren't sure how sound the floors were, so I got them all out when I got here," Herren said.

Firefighters pulled two young black dogs from inside the building and EMTs on the scene tried to perform life saving measures on the animals but were unsuccessful and both dogs perished.

A Lee County EMS EMT tries to resuscitate a dog Friday morning after the animal was pulled from a burning home in at 1222 26th Street. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Firefighters then went to work on the exterior of the building including busting out most windows and then cutting into walls and the roof to try and get to the fire.

At one point after about 90 minutes, Herren pulled firefighters back from the building that was still smoldering from the roof and eaves, to give them a rest. He said crews would be on the scene for several more hours.

Herren said there was no insurance on the home and it will be a complete loss. The city will be responsible for demolishing the unit.

According to Lee County Treasurer's records, the building, located at 1222 26th Street, is owned by Lance and Michelle Meredith, who purchased it in 2020 from JICTB Inc.

Two unidentified Fort Madison firefighters work on the roof at a home at 1222 26th Street Friday morning. The home caught fire right around 5 a.m. and firefighters were on the scene for close to three hours. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC
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