Iowa City fire investigators said Thursday that unattended cooking in an apartment caused the fire that extensively damaged an Iowa City business and two apartments earlier this week.
The fire broke out around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Dental Lab Inc. building at 1515 Jackson Ave., which also houses two apartments. Everyone was able to get out safely before the fire spread, but the building was declared a total loss.
According to investigators, a fire originating in a pot of oil on the stovetop in one of the apartments ignited nearby combustibles and quickly spread through the ceiling of the building.
According to a news release from the Iowa City Fire Department, properly installed and functioning smoke alarms provided early notification of the fire and helped residents to escape without injury. Apartment residents should check smoke alarms monthly and develop and practice a fire escape plan.
The leading cause of kitchen fires in Iowa City is unattended cooking, officials said.