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Blaze destroys buildings in Marquette

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MARQUETTE, Iowa (WXOW) - Authorities are investigating the cause of a massive fire that damaged or destroyed several businesses and homes in the northeast Iowa community of Marquette.

Firefighters from eight area departments battled the blaze for hours after it was first reported around 1:00 a.m. Monday morning on North Street in downtown Marquette, which sits on the Mississippi River. No injuries were reported.

The fire destroyed a historic, two-story Marquette Hardware store. The building, which dates back to the 1880's, also had a beauty parlor and four apartments, two of which were rented. 

Marquette Fire Chief Dan Bickel says a man who lived in one of the apartments used an extinguisher but couldn't stop the flames. He then warned others so they could flee to safety.

The fire caused the building to collapse, which caused the fire to spread to surrounding homes.  A duplex behind the building, and a single family home adjacent to it were destroyed.  An empty building on the opposite side of the store was heavily damaged.

Mary Jo Pirc and her family has owned Marquette Hardware for 69 years. She also owns the building that housed it and lives across the street from it.

Pirc came home from her job at the casino shortly after midnight, and her tenants alerted her to the fire in her building shortly after that.

She and tenants said they may have lost a lot, but everybody is thankful there were no deaths or injuries.

A local American Red Cross is assisting affected residents.

 

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