House fire remains under investigation

When Monticello firefighters arrived on scene, the Wernimont house was fully engulfed in flames. The MFD was called out just before midnight July 7, and remained on scene into the early morning hours of July 8. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

The MFD worked hard and successfully saved the neighboring house next door, which sustained damage to the siding and read garage.

The following morning, July 8, the Wernimont house was a complete loss in the fire. The cause is still being investigated.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Monticello Fire Department was called to a fully engulfed structure fire at 230 W. Grand St. between 11:30 p.m. and midnight on Friday, July 7. The house is located at the intersection of W. Grand and South Chestnut streets, and is owned by Gary and Keith Wernimont of Monticello.

     The house was a total loss.

     There was also damage to the neighboring house, 224 W. Grand St., owned by Shawn Flannagan of Hopkinton.

     Both homes were unoccupied at the time of the fire.

     The Anamosa Fire Department was put on stand-by to assist, but were not needed on scene.

     The MFD remained on scene throughout the early morning hours.

     The fire remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.

     With only one of two city water towers in use right now, Jay Yanda, Monticello’s waste water/water operator, was on scene monitoring the city’s water pressure.

     The water tower located off W. First Street is currently being repainted. It had to be drained before the project could start.

     Typically, with both city water towers full, Monticello has a water capacity of 1 million gallons. Yanda said the normal usage is around 400,000 gallons a day.

     “It takes three days to circulate the water system,” he said.

     Among the many functions of a city water tower, they are used for emergency water supplies during a fire. While the Wernimont fire didn’t cause much of an alarm in terms of water usage, Yanda said if the city had another downtown fire right now, neighboring fire departments would have to come in for additional water supply.

     “Those towns would supply water tankers so we don’t use as much of the city’s water,” he said, in the case of only one tower in use.

     Yanda said there was no cause for alarm with this incident; he was on scene making sure the wells were running properly and to make sure the south water tower was keeping up with the water demand.

     “It’s a service we provide to make sure we have adequate water pressure,” he said.

     The water tower project is expected to be completed by the end of August/early September.


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