The cause of a major fire at Davenport’s Linden apartment complex, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, remained undetermined late Sunday.

Davenport Fire Chief Mark Frese said Sunday that firefighters “probably will take another half day tomorrow to come up with the cause. We’ve got to interview a lot of people who were in the building at the time of the fire and anybody who knows anything about it.

“It’s a process of elimination. We have to rule things out. It’s a long process, and it’s meticulous,” Frese said.

“We have in the neighborhood of 10-12 certified police/firefighters who will do the interviews. They will do the investigation portion,” he said. “If it looks like it might be something that’s criminal, the police will come in and give us a hand.”

On Sunday, firefighters continued to sift through debris to determine where the blaze started.

“As you get father away from the ignition, or starting point, there’s not near as much burn low-down,” Frese said. “We have to get down to the floor. We got MidAmerican (Energy) down there, and got the electricity back on in Don’s Big 10 and (the neighboring Rosenbaum apartments). We’re doing a lot of digging around to see if we could find out anything that led to this fire.”

Investigators have determined that the fire probably started on the third floor, “probably 20-30 feet off the southeast corner. That’s where it looked like it started.”

“A lot of apartment dwellers on the second and third floor got some of their possessions out of there (Sunday). Hopefully we’ll have a better idea what happened tomorrow as soon as we can clear our interviews,” Frese said.

Linden Flats, 219 Scott St., is one of several large apartment blocks built in Davenport at the turn of the century, according to an architectural/historical survey by the Davenport Community Development Department of the Iowa Division of Historic Preservation.

The Linden is a modified Colonial Federal-revival facade of “clean lines, rectilinear forms and lightly detailed cornice and frieze,” and its entrances have round-arched doorways, according to the survey.

The Linden’s “period of significance” was 1900-1924, according to the National Register. The Linden was added to the register in 1983.

The building’s 2005 assessed value was placed at $207,427.

No official cause for the fire that left at least 17 people homeless was available late Sunday.

“There were no injuries, thank God, to tenants or firefighters,” Mike Stoelk, district fire chief, said late Saturday while firefighters cleaned up the scene. He said that the fire got into the cockloft, about 1½-2 feet of dead space between the third-floor ceiling and the roof, then took off from there. Stoelk said that the roof collapsed, and the third floor was destroyed. The second floor sustained a lot of water and smoke damage.

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