Homeowners actually call the OFD several times a year asking if the department would use their home as a controlled house fire so they don't have to tear it down themselves, Miller said.
"But then you get out there to inspect it and sometimes the house is only like 20 feet from the house next door," Miller said.
Thankfully, the home they burned Thursday sat well away from its neighbors, some of whom came out to watch the blaze.
Another problem the department encounters is asbestos. According to Iowa DNR regulations, all houses must be cleared of asbestos before they can be used as a controlled house fire. That cost falls on the homeowner, not the city, Miller said.
Firefighters were on scene through mid-afternoon Thursday, though Trout said the flames in the basement would likely still brew for another day, though they would be contained to the basement only, not a threat to the rest of the neighborhood.