A fire has caused catastrophic damage to the historic Kirk Apartments in downtown Mason City. Firefighters were called to the building at 1:30 Monday afternoon for a fire in a first-floor apartment and brought it under control about an hour later, but smoke and flames erupted from the building once again at about five o’clock. Mason City Fire Chief Erik Bullinger says he and other investigators were inside the building when they noticed the fire was spreading through the structure.
At about 9:30 Monday night, fire crews were setting up lights and treating the building as a potential collapse zone.
Bullinger says while the first started in a single apartment, it may be tough to quickly determine a cause since the first spread and caused so much damage.
Bullinger says with the condition of the building, he questions whether the cause of the fire will ever be determined.
No injuries have been reported, but all 44 residents of the building have been displaced. The Kirk opened in 1903 was the city’s first luxury apartment building, originally supplying heat, light and water for the apartments with its own steam generating plant before being hooked into the city’s utility system. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and is part of the downtown historic district in Mason City.