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Demolition to start immediately after fire at Davenport historic home

The home, built in the 1880s, belonged to a Davenport redevelopment group
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 4:55 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2020 at 3:09 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Davenport firefighters say a historic home in downtown Davenport is a total loss after a fire destroyed it early Wednesday morning.

The Davenport Fire Department responded shortly after 4:00 a.m. to the home located at 716 West 5th Street.

A TV6 crew on scene spoke to the Davenport Fire Chief who says the home was vacant at the time of the fire and neighbors near the house were evacuated.

Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy fire conditions from the north end of the exterior house and on both floors of the building. That is when crews began an aggressive exterior attack on the fire.

Mid-American assisted the fire department with securing utilities to the house.

The building collapsed shortly after firefighters arrived on scene due to fire conditions.

The house located east of the historic home also received damage from the fire.

No injuries have been reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

City officials say emergency demolition costs are estimated to be $9,000. The home was not insured like many other vacant buildings.

TV6′s Talya Faggart was live on scene Wednesday morning in the video below:

Crews responded to house fire in Davenport near W 5th & N Gaines St

Posted by KWQC TV6 News on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

According to Davenport Alderwoman Marion Meginnis, the historic home belonged to the Gateway Redevelopment Group, a volunteer not-for-profit group whose mission is saving abandoned buildings in the neighborhood. It was called the George Krabbenhoeft House and was built in the 1880s. Photos of what the house looked like before the fire can be seen below.

Meginnis says the house was undergoing restoration by the group. Since 2002, the group has intervened on behalf of eight vacant properties whose futures were in question.

“Lost in the fire was not only the building, but rooms full of architectural salvage,” Meginnis said. “Proceeds for the sale of these materials, carefully harvested by GRG volunteers or donated by supporters, are used to fund the group’s ongoing rehabilitation efforts.”

She says the early history records of the house are unclear. The first documented owner was George Krabbenhoeft. Documents show the house began as one-and-a-half story cottage and was a full two-story home by 1910.

The house was vacant and deteriorating by 2015. Meginnis says it was once placed on the city of Davenport’s demolition list. GRG took possession of the property in 2017 and immediately installed a new roof and fixed the deteriorated rear second floor section. The home later had asbestos siding professionally removed. In the summer of 2019, repairs to the two-story front porches were completed.

“The loss of the building and its contents represent not only a loss in future revenue for GRG, but hundreds of volunteer hours donated by dedicated GRG supporters," Meginnis said.

Below are more photos from the house fire on Wednesday:

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