Iowa City fire personnel investigate Hieronymus Square fire

After a fire broke out near Burlington and Clinton Streets, the Iowa City Fire Department is investigating what caused the blaze to start.


Ryan Adams

Firefighters respond to a structure fire at Burlington and Clinton on Tuesday, March 5.

Alexandra Skores, News Reporter

The Iowa City Fire Department is investigating a structure fire that occurred Tuesday at the Hieronmymus Square construction site.

The fire broke out near Burlington and Clinton Streets at approximately 3 p.m. and was controlled around 4 p.m.

RELATED: Downtown Iowa City fire shuts down Burlington Street block

Battalion Chief Brian Rohr said authorities do not know an official cause of the fire at the moment and any monetary damages cannot be measured at this time. 

With no official cause, Rohr said he does not know what the loss may look like for Hodge Construction’s progress on the $40 million project.

“It’s always difficult in winter time to keep workers warm,” Rohr said. “Assuming because there is no power, it was probably related to construction. It is difficult to keep people safe under construction. There were no sprinklers or standpipes in the buildings. Until they get dry wall in there, it is all just lumber that can go up in flames.”

Hodge Construction declined to comment at this time.

The protocal used in responding to the blaze Tuesday depended upon the severity of the fire and the conditions of the scene, Rohr said. Officials had considered evacuating the VUE Rooftop Bar, located directly behind the building at 328 S. Clinton St., he said, and the Voxman Music Building was never in question for evacuation. 

“With it being under construction, it is very hard to tell what has been lost,” Rohr said. “It is a four-story building with the top two stories being left completely damaged. Crews will be on the scene to remove the burnt lumber and engineers should be looking at the concrete at some point.”

Burlington Street will be closed between Clinton and Dubuque Streets all day Wednesday.

Caleb McCullough contributed reporting.