The Iowa City Fire Department has completed its investigation of the origin and cause of the Tuesday, March 5, 2019 structure fire at a construction site in Downtown. 

The fire started at a construction site at Hieronymus Square, near the intersection of East Burlington Street and South Clinton Street Tuesday afternoon.

The investigation, which included interviews and a physical investigation, found that the fire started in a third-floor room on the north side of the building.

The room had a temporary 10' by 10' tent structure used as a warming area for combustible subfloor adhesives. The tent housed several cases of the adhesives and a liquid propane-fueled radiant heater. The heater was fueled by a liquid propane tank outside the tent. 

The heater came in contact with the combustibles in the tent and started a fire. Flames grew and the liquid propane tank started to vent, providing more fuel until it exploded. Strong winds then carried flames through the structure rapidly. 

It is estimated that the initial loss is $1,000,000. The investigation is pending any additional information that could surface. 

For more information, contact Fire Marshal Brian Greer at 319-356-5257 or at

Date of publication

Wednesday, March 06, 2019