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Ashes and Questions in CR Community

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) A late night fire on the corner of M Street and 12th Avenue Southwest burned an abandoned flood home to the ground. People who live nearby were surprised at the height of the flames, but not necessarily at which house was on fire.

They say the home that once stood where a pile of rubble is now caught fire another time, about two years ago, when it was also abandoned. Since then, they say it just sat there until it became completely engulfed last night.

The smell of burned wood reaches your nose all the way up the block, well before you see the crispy pile of rubble. William Fuchs saw the flames first and called the Fire Department.

"If I would have been 10-minutes later, that tree would have, it was already in flames then our tree would have caught on fire, said Fuchs.

"The whole sky almost looked like it was snowing little red embers," said Trish Waltermyer, who lives down the block from the fire.

Even across the street from the fire, the heat was so intense that it caused the siding on a house to buckle. Ash and embers that landed all the way down the block, means all these homes were at risk.

It's very scary, said Brandon Hansen, who lives across 12th Avenue SW from Waltermyer. I mean you got a dozen houses just within eyesight of this one house.

"Besides it being an eyesore, it is worrisome, said Waltermyer.

Waltermyer says she flagged down a fire truck to put out small flames that started on her neighbors home, more than two blocks away. Witnesses say they found out alter that the abandoned home still had a gas line hooked up to it.

"The firefighters were fighting this fire that eventually could have been a very explosive accident, said Hansen.

Brandon says while many other homes nearby have been renovated, this property never got any attention from the people who could have made a difference.

"Everybody around here is trying to rebuild this community since the floods happened and it doesn't seem like the city or the state is doing anything about it, said Hansen.

Witnesses say they heard two explosions, but dont know what those were. The Fire Department says the cause is still under investigation.
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