Fire Burns Out Fountains Ballroom

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Damage Estimated At $1 Million

By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

A secluded, wedding ballroom near Mineola was gutted by a fire last Wednesday morning when a quick moving blaze tore through the building causing nearly $1 million in damages.

The Fountains Ballroom, located two miles northwest of Mineola at 51496 230 Street, caught fire some time after 4 a.m. Wednesday morning. Fire departments from Glenwood, Oak Township, Pacific Junction, and Silver City worked more than eight hours to get the blaze under control on the rural six-acre property, shuttling in water from a hydrant more than a mile away.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Fountains Ballroom owners Marty and Erin Williams were in the building when the fire began. After working late at the ballroom the night before, they decided to stay in one of the facility’s apartments. Their two children, ages 4 and 10 months were also with them.

About 4:30 a.m. the Williams were woken by fire alarms and the smell of smoke. They immediately got out of the building. Flames could already be seen billowing from the building’s roof.

“It took off from there,” said Marty Williams. “But everybody is okay and doing good. We just happened to be far enough away that we woke up in time.”

The building sustained extensive damages.

There were no injuries reported, but two dogs and a cat were apparently killed in the fire.

According to Iowa State Fire Marshall John Ticer, the fire appears to have sparked in an office on the west side of the building. Considering the building’s wood frame and steel shell, the fire spread quickly through the building, added Ticer.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

The Williams’ plan to re-build Fountains Ballroom, but until the insurance company and state fire investigators assesses the blaze, they aren’t sure when that can or will happen. There are 74 full weddings already scheduled through 2010 beginning after March 7. Most of the information, details and contacts for those arrangements were lost in the fire.

“Hopefully we can get it figured out so we can still make a majority of those still happen,” said Marty Williams.

A New Year’s Eve masquerade ball will also have to be cancelled.

Marty Williams estimates losses to be close to a $1 million to the 14,000 square foot facility.