Fire Destroys Historic Fort Madison Hotel - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Fire Destroys Historic Fort Madison Hotel


An historic Fort Madison hotel burns to the ground Saturday morning.

The fire broke out at about four in the morning in the city's downtown, engulfing the Metropolitan hotel housing two businesses including Book Nook and Cure Solutions, a computer repair company.

They sit on the 600 block of avenue G.

Firefighters worked hard to keep the flames from spreading to nearby buildings.

It took four different fire departments and 35 to 40 firefighters two hours to get the fire under control.

The building began to collapse on itself shortly after firefighters arrived Saturday.

Preventing fire crews from ever going inside to attack the source of the flames.

Instead they focused on keeping the fire from spreading.

The building owner next door thinks highly of their efforts.

"Foamed our roof right away and they kept water going between the buildings, luckily for the two foot of space between buildings and they kept us from catching on fire," says Dollhouse Dreams Owner Debbie Perry.

She received a terrifying phone call at 4:15.

"One of my tenants called and said you need to get down here the building is on fire."

Her building sits right next to the former Metropolitan hotel, where firefighters battled for hours to keep its destruction from spreading to Perry's building.

"Just wondering are they going to save my building, but happy everybody was out, the police got here first and got everybody out of the building," says Perry.

Water wasn't enough to save both. Fort Madison fire chief Joey Herren says the hotel began collapsing around 4:30 Saturday morning, about a half hour after firefighters arrived. He says the collapse makes the investigation much more difficult.

"It's going to be an unknown, because it burnt so bad and it collapsed on itself, it's just too hot, too dangerous to investigate it."

The chief says the fire is the latest in a series on this end of town.

"It's my first one in a while downtown, we haven't one downtown in quite a few years since I've been on the department, we've been having several fires in this east end of town in the last few months."

Firefighters watching the ruins will knock down hotspots as they flare up. After knocking down much of the building to prevent more damage.

"Brought in an excavator to knock the walls down to keep it from falling in, you know falling out into the street, trying to control the building where it fell," says Herren.

Damage control that saved other buildings from joining the rubble pile.

Thanks to the early morning hour, no one was hurt during this fire.

The Chief says the earliest investigators can begin searching for a cause will be Monday.

To do that, he says they need to sift through the rubble and it's just too hot right now.

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