The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 9, 2013

Rancho Grande fire consumes building

OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Fire Department spent two hours trying to put out the fire at a Mexican restaurant, but in the end, spent many more hours trying to save the buildings around it.

The fire department was called out about midnight, said Mike Craff, an assistant fire chief. He said there were flames showing when they arrived.

Deputy Chief Cory Benge, the fire investigator, said flames could be seen coming from the basement and from the top floor of the two story building.

"They did offensive attack inside for approximately two hours," said Craff, "but it had too big a head start."

The bright orange restaurant, located in a restored, brick-faced industrial building, had many "voids" and spaces where the fire went. The department would get it knocked down on one side, Craff said, only for it to spring up even worse at another corner of the building.

An employee at the Ottumwa office of the American Red Cross said his office was involved by giving water to firefighters and because their Red Cross building is the next door neighbor of El Ranch Grande. He said firefighters did a great job keeping the flames away from the rest of the commercial block. Neighbors at the intersection of Jefferson and Main streets include a small market, a radio station and the Red Cross. Across the street: A pizza place, a restaurant and an under-construction community building. All of those buildings appeared undamaged Tuesday morning.

El Ranch Grande, however, appears to be a total loss.

"Structural collapse is our main concern right now," said Benge. "There's obvious signs of deterioration due to the fire." 

He and the State Fire Marshal's Office will be investigating the fire. There was no speculation as to cause early Tuesday.

Text Only
Local News
  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.The completion of the nearly two dozens projects w

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0710 OTT Bulldogs update color photo -L -M High school students lead Bulldog charge OTTUMWA — Two Ottumwa High School students gave their very first press conference Wednesday morning to share their progress on decorating Ottumwa with large bulldog statues. Alyssa Cash and Madyson Feather joined Main Street Ottumwa Executive Directo

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0710 OTT Smart snacks color photo -M -L Schools adopt new food regulations OTTUMWA — This fall, students across the country will find big changes in the cafeteria, but Ottumwa kids may find they approve of the changes. The new "Smart Snacks in School" standards from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) went in

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • Updated: Judge rejects Techel trial continuance

    OTTUMWA — Judge Daniel Wilson has rejected a defense bid to delay Seth Techel’s murder trial. The motion for a continuance was filed Tuesday and Wilson’s ruling came just a day later.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bonaparte man sentenced for assault BONAPARTE — A Bonaparte man has been sentenced to serve up to seven years in prison after he pled guilty to assault after an altercation May 1 in Bonaparte. Dimitrious Roosevelt Royal, 44, 411 Fourth St., Apartment 20, pled guilty to lesser-included

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 OTT Fairfield pic collapse -L Fairfield buildings evacuated FAIRFIELD — A building that appeared ready to collapse caused an evacuation near the Fairfield town square Tuesday. A county press release said the Fairfield Fire Department responded to an emergency call at about 3 p.m. and saw the north wall was le

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wanted: Board of Adjustment members OTTUMWA — Want to be involved in county government? Here’s your chance. Wapello County has three openings on its five-member Board of Adjustment. Earlier this week, the board accepted with regret the resignation of Mel Moyer of Ottumwa, leaving the B

    July 9, 2014

  • Has it really been windy this summer? OTTUMWA — Iowa summers are, on average, calm. Except for the occasional thunderstorm, there’s less wind in June, July and August than at any other time of the year. Tuesday was noticeably different. Steady winds kicked up waves even in relatively sma

    July 9, 2014

  • 0709 OTT Promiseland color photo Rock star rediscovers God's love OTTUMWA — Singer Scott Stapp wants you to know that despite your mistakes, God loves you. He’s witnessed that love in his own life. Not only did Stapp face difficulty that he had no control over, like the death of a beloved friend, he faced public em

    July 8, 2014 2 Photos

Photo reprints