Sunday Fire Destroys Oskaloosa Business

A fire at International Ingredient Corporation on Highway 23 in Oskaloosa on Sunday led to the cooperation of nine local fire departments including Oskaloosa, Pella, New Sharon, Cedar Township, Eddyville, Sigourney, What Cheer, Hedrick and Ottawa. Photo submitted by Lynn Perkins.

A quiet, cold Sunday became a massive workday for members of the Oskaloosa Fire Department and several departments within 30 miles. A midday fire at International Ingredient Corporation, 2389 Highway 23, on the southeast side of Oskaloosa, destroyed the business and required a number of departments and personnel to provide support.

Temperatures were hovering at about 12 degrees most of the day and kept personnel and equipment frozen. Oskaloosa Fire received the call just after 11 a.m. and battled the fire throughout the day and into the night.

Oskaloosa Fire Chief Mark Neff immediately called for mutual aid upon arriving. Dark gray smoke bellowed more than 100 feet into the air and flames could at times be seen more than a mile away. Neff made an all-call for all available personnel and requested assistance from New Sharon and Cedar Township (Fremont).

Just before noon a request was made for the aerial truck from Pella, and trucks and personnel from Eddyville and Hedrick. By mid-afternoon assistance from What Cheer, Sigourney and an aerial truck from Ottumwa had arrived. No determination had been made on the cause of the fire.

An employee of the company said everything was fine in the warehouse when he left early Sunday morning. The cold and incident fatigue forced firefighters to find places of refuge. Cablevey, the business near International Ingredients, offered their facility for firefighters to rest and rehab. The local Hy-Vee sent a truck of warm food and drinks to the site.

Read the full story in the February 8 edition.