Le Mars Fire Chief Schipper says that at 11:38 am on Tuesday morning December 12th, he was just across the street at the Library when an arc from the power line that runs behind M. Catton and Co traveled across the to newly placed metal on the building and to the 3 connected buildings, "lighting it up".
Thankfully, he says the workers were not touching any metal when the arc happened or there would have been significant injuries. No injuries were reported as a result of the incident but some smoke damage in the two connected buildings as well as minor damage where the Fire Department had to remove pieces of the roof to check for fire.
The building that took the initial zap did have more extensive damage but mostly to the HVAC system and some fire damage to wood parts of the structure. None of the damage is considered significant. Crews worked for about 2 hours with the assistance of Orange City Fire Department to ensure there was no risk of additional fire and Mid-American Energy worked to repair the lines.
The part of the building where the power arced is a newer addition to the downtown building. Residents and businesses in the area did report some power surges and outages during the incident.