UPDATE: Cedar Rapids firefighters battled a house fire at 1228 Third St. SE Monday morning.
Public Safety spokesman Greg Buelow said the New Bo neighborhood home was damaged in the 2008 flood and is vacant. The blaze was spotted by a Cedar Rapids police officer driving by just after 8:30 a.m. Monday, Buelow said.
The 1.5 story home was built in 1900 and is currently owned by a private trust.
Because the home was abandoned and the utilities shut off, Buelow said firefighters are “almost certain there’s a human element involved.”
The blaze marks yet another to hit an abandoned flood zone structure. The fire department stopped officially tracking flood zone fires in 2012. At the end of that year, authorities had responded to 40 structure fires in the flood zone. But, Buelow said fires in vacant structures are not limited to the flood zone.
“It becomes more of an issue of any vacant home is a potential place that you could have a human element involved,” he said.
Temperatures were below zero for crews battling the fire. A city bus was stationed at the scene to provide firefighters with a place to warm up.