MUSCATINE, Iowa – A Muscatine woman is alive today thanks to the quick reaction of two Muscatine Police Officers Tuesday morning. The Muscatine County Joint Communications Center received notification at 8:37 a.m. Tuesday (July 14) of a structure fire at 512 Liberty Street, Muscatine.
Muscatine Police Corporal Matt Fowler and Officer Mark Schollmeyer, a rookie with the department, were on patrol in the south end of Muscatine Tuesday morning when they noticed heavy smoke rising into the air. The two officers began a search and discovered the front of the home at 512 Liberty engulfed in flames.
After calling in the fire, the two officers tried to enter the structure through the front door but were turned back by the intense heat and fire. Moving around to the back of the house, the officers saw an 80-year-old female lying on the floor approximately three feet inside the rear entrance. The officers broke open the back door, pulled the woman to safety, and administered aid until Muscatine Fire Department (MFD) Paramedic’s arrived.
“If not for the quick action of these two officers the result could have been entirely different,” Brett Talkington, Muscatine Police Chief said.
The woman was transported to Trinity Muscatine Hospital with smoke inhalation and later transferred to the University of Iowa Specialized Care Unit by the MFD.
Muscatine firefighters found the first floor fully involved upon arrival with flames coming out of the front window and ignited the exterior of the home. The fire was quickly knocked down on the first floor and a search commenced. Heavy smoke was still coming from the second floor eaves with a second crew dispatched to attack any fire on the second floor and in the attic area. Roof ventilation was done in conjunction with the second floor fire attack.
Damage to the building was estimated at $39,000.00.
One of the two officers was also treated and released at the hospital for smoke inhalation. A Muscatine firefighter was treated on scene for heat exhaustion before being transported to the University of Iowa for further care. He was discharged a short time later.
An estimated 22 firefighters responded to the fire call including off duty staff and an automatic mutual aid response from Fruitland Fire with two personnel. The Muscatine Police Department provided support with initial patient rescue, patient care, and traffic support. The Salvation Army provided water and food to responders at the scene of the fire while the Red Cross provided assistance to two family members.
The last major house fire in Muscatine was on February 20, 2020, when two residents and their family pet escaped injury in an early morning fire on Fairhaven Street.
About the Muscatine Fire Department:
The Muscatine Fire Department provides fire and emergency medical services, rescues (high angle, rope, water, etc.), building inspections, and public education for the City of Muscatine, and the surrounding unincorporated areas of Muscatine County with a combined population of 43,000 across 145 square miles while also providing HAZMAT for Muscatine, Louisa, Washington, Keokuk, and Henry counties. MFD firefighters and paramedics responded to 5,238 calls in 2019. The Muscatine Fire Department began as a volunteer fire company on January 7, 1875 and was established as a full-time department in January 1916. The Muscatine Fire Department ambulance service received the 2012 Career Ambulance service of the Year Award from Iowa Emergency Medical Services.