BELLEVUE, Iowa — It was a bizarre scene Thursday morning in this Jackson County town as a firefighter had to drive a fire truck out of the fire station so it could be used to fight a fire inside the station.

Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Schroeder said he arrived just after the call went out about 7 a.m. Schroeder said Maquoketa Police Officer Jayson Heiar, who lives in Bellevue and is a firefighter, drove the truck out of the burning building to a fire hydrant.

"You could see black smoke inside the building. He came by me with the window on the truck down, his head out the window and black smoke billowing out of the cab," Schroeder said. "The truck was not on fire but had filled with smoke."

At least three other fire departments were called to Bellevue to help fight the blaze.

Bellevue Police Chief Lynn Schwager discovered smoke coming out of the rafters of the fire station, located across from Bellevue Elementary School. Schwager said once the doors of the station were opened, there were flames inside. Some equipment was damaged.

Schroeder said smoke was billowing out of the rafters, but he did not see flames. He said the station is still standing. City Administrator Loras Herrig said the fire station is operational in case of another fire.

Two other Bellevue residents reported seeing smoke from several blocks away.

Preston, Springbrook and Maquoketa firefighters were called to assist. Bellevue Fire asked Maquoketa to bring its aerial and pumper truck.

Schroeder said the smoke had been reduced by 7:30 a.m., and Maquoketa firefighters returned to Maquoketa by 8:30 a.m.

The deputy said several streets were blocked by fire trucks and emergency vehicles.

Herrig said the city's insurance adjuster was at the station at noon Thursday. He said the adjuster told him he had never seen a fire at a fire station.

Herrig said all the equipment and the building is covered under the city's insurance. No damage estimate has been determined.

The state fire marshal also was at the station, looking for the cause and origin of the fire.

Herrig said the fire apparently started in the equipment room near the back wall. He noted the firefighters had recently renovated the equipment room and office area.

"It looked really nice," he said.

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