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JOICE, Iowa – An early-morning fire that caused significant damage to a Worth County library is being called “devastating.”
Joice Mayor Mark Thoma called Friday’s fire a “devastating” loss for the small town, saying it was their community cornerstone.
"The library is the focual point for the city of Joice, you know in small communities it's often the place where community members gather, get information and use the computers," says Thoma.
Crews from five communities battled the blaze at 201 Main St. after it began just before 3 a.m.
The building was engulfed in flames when authorities arrived. Fire departments from Joice, Fertile, Hanlontown, Forest City and Lake Mills were on scene as they dealt with a lack of water.
"You know this just goes to show what north Iowa is all about and southern Minnesota as well is just the response and volunteers and first responders, I can't thank them enough," says Thoma.
While it's unclear how the fire started, we do know the building was undergoing renovations. Thoma says that makes this loss even more disappointing.
"New roof, new windows, new lighting, new insulation, new siding, everything is getting worked on and fixed up as this is one of the focal buildings for the city. This is really a bummer to see this happen at this moment in time," he says.
No one was injured and the fire was contained to the building. Crews later called in an excavator to tear the roof off the building. The library had two roofs, the lower roof had a coat of tar on it which fire crews say would keep burning if they did not expose it and spray it down.
The Worth County Sheriff's Office was also on scene along with Worth County Emergency Management and Alliant Energy.
We will have more on this story as it becomes available.
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