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Several gallons of water removed from Urbandale condo

Water is what's left of fire response to Monday's massive blaze

URBANDALE - After a massive fire tore through an Urbandale condo building, the fire is now officially out.

Fire investigators say they will not know what caused the fire for quite a while. In the meantime, local disaster response crews are taking care of another issue the building is facing -- the several gallons of water in the basement of the building. That is where residents park their cars.

Several thousand gallons have already been drained. The water is from when fire crews responded to the blaze Monday. Restoration contractors say they need to take care of this now.

A steady stream of water flowed out of the Plumwood Terrace condo Wednesday, two days after fire crews doused the massive blaze.

"Somewhere between 300 and 400 thousand gallons of water was poured on it," said Orin McMillen with United Services Restoration.

Now, all that water needs to be removed -- and most of it has already been drained.

"It's quite the feat," McMillen said.

But the restoration specialists are up for the challenge.

"We had to wait for them to kind of contain the fire before we were allowed to go in and do anything," McMillen said. "The first priority was to get the water pumped from the basement, most of that resided in the parking structure that was underneath."

A handful of vehicles are still submerged in the water. Displaced residents who have no cars - and no home - are now worried about the future.

"Where are we going to be tomorrow, I mean, we can't even beyond start to think about it, I mean it's just one day after another and just trying to take it one day at a time," said displaced resident Derek Shaver.

Fire officials tell us all the hot spots have been taken care of, but it will still be a while until they can determine the cause of the fire. And the restoration contractors are helping out with that process.

"We'll continue to board up the entrances, that way we can kind of preserve the scene," McMillen said.

But the cold weather is not making things easy.

"As the water level continues to go down, obviously freezing overnight is an issue," McMillen said. "That's why we have to be out here constantly monitoring the pumps, make sure they don't freeze, make sure they don't run out of gas."

McMillen says most of the cars were removed from the parking structure as the fire was still burning, but again there were still a few left inside. Restoration crews expect to completely done with draining the water very soon.

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