HEDRICK — Neighbors credited a coordinated response from area fire departments with preventing a fire in the 100 block of Main Street from spreading throughout the block.

Sara Williams, who owns a salon across the street, said the fire began early Tuesday morning. She no longer lives in Hedrick and saw the still-smoldering remains when she arrived at work.

“I was shocked when I came in,” she said.

Everyone in the building that burned and the neighboring apartments made it out safely. Dr. Michael Comstock’s home and chiropractic office is a block north of the fire. He helped make sure everyone got safely out of the buildings.

“Once we did that, we just got back and stayed out of the way,” he said.

The Hedrick Fire Department called on help from departments in Ottumwa, Sigourney and Keota. Comstock said the aerial truck from Ottumwa was particularly useful, since it had the ability to get above the fire and spray water down onto the building.

Still, it was a nervous night. Like buildings in many downtown districts, this one was connected to its neighbors, which could have allowed the fire to spread. Both Comstock and Williams said firefighters did a good job of containing the blaze.

Neighboring buildings weren’t the only ones at risk.

“We had embers falling on our roof,” Comstock said. “We were nervous for a while.”

There was not much left Tuesday morning. Scorched metal sheeting and blackened wood was still in place, but little else remained. A few areas still had white smoke drifting from hot spots but posed no threat.

Matt Milner can be reached at mmilner@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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