Fire Destroys Group Home In Guttenberg; 5 Taken To Hospital
According to a report from the Telegraph Herald, five people were taken to the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital and Clinics after a fire at an assisted-living residence last night (12/1). Names of those involved in the fire at the Imagine the Possibilities group home have not been released, but all were taken for evaluation and treatment of any injuries according to the Guttenberg Fire and Rescue.
Jeff Morris, chief administrative officer of Imagine the Possibilities, said that four of the five individuals have been released from the hospital, with one person needing additional monitoring through the day after smoke inhalation exposure.
The fire at the group home at 523 North Second Street was reported around 8:30 Thursday evening. Guttenberg firefighters learned of a fire with people possibly still inside the residence. As they arrived at the scene, firefighters found smoke and fire coming from the south end of the structure. The five individuals were the only ones living in the building at the time of the fire, with a staff member was on-site as well.
"We were advised that there were five individuals that lived there, and staff had not accounted for all of them yet. As resources were sent to help locate the missing individuals, a fire attack team was also established. Within minutes, four of the missing individuals were located outside the building and attended to by EMS. The fifth individual was located by firefighters inside the structure and assisted to EMS for treatment. All five residents were transported to the Guttenberg Hospital for evaluation and treatment for any injuries. We had to go in the structure to find the fifth person. The people living there are disabled, and the individual we were looking for was actually deaf as well. They weren't too far into the structure. Within minutes, we found the person and got them to the ambulance."
-Guttenberg Fire Chief, Joe Zittergruen
The fire department is being assisted by the State Fire Marshal's Office in the investigation of how the fire started. Firefighters cleared the scene at 1:30am today, and then returned at 2am to remove any hot spots or flare-ups.
Fire Chief Zittergruen had said the building is a total loss, but insurers will visit today to determine the full amount of damage. Jeff Morris of Imagine the Possibilities noted that a vehicle parked near the building also was a total loss. Officials from Imagine the Possibilities plan to meet today to determine where those displaced individuals will be housed. Imagine the Possibilities has facilities across Iowa, with around six group homes in the Guttenberg area.