A city employee Wednesday works to turn the water off at Pizza Ranch following an overnight fire. ANDREW McGINN | JEFFERSON HERALDFirefighters gained entry to the Pizza Ranch through a front window shortly after a fire was reported early Wednesday. ANDREW McGINN | JEFFERSON HERALDA sign posted Wednesday on the door of Greene Bean Coffee shows how nearby businesses were dealing with the smell of smoke. ANDREW McGINN | JEFFERSON HERALDIt took firefighters an hour and a half to control a blaze early Wednesday at Pizza Ranch.

Fire destroys Pizza Ranch


Jefferson firefighters still weren’t sure at daylight Wednesday what caused an overnight fire that left the Pizza Ranch scorched.

A fire inside the North Wilson Avenue business was reported about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday,  Jefferson Fire Chief Randy Love said, still on the scene after more than eight hours.

“We could look through the windows and see flames in the kitchen area,” Love said. “And it was full of smoke.”

Firefighters knocked out a front window to gain access to the popular downtown eatery.

“The kitchen was pretty much fully engulfed,” he said.

Firefighters also quickly noticed fire in a back office area, in addition to the basement.

The blaze was largely brought under control within an hour and a half, he said.

“We’ve been fighting it all morning through all the roof levels,” Love said.

No one was hurt fighting the fire, Love said, although the January cold caused some slush to form in the water lines.

He estimated they used 25,000 gallons of water on the fire.

The Jefferson Fire Department was assisted on scene by the Grand Junction and Churdan fire departments. A ladder truck was called from Carroll, but firefighters ultimately didn’t need it.

At the start of business Wednesday, nearby businesses were each dealing in their own way with the thick smell of smoke.

Greene Bean Coffee chose to temporarily close, with a sign saying to watch their Facebook page for updates. Employees could be seen cleaning the large storefront windows from the inside.

Aside from yellow caution tape wrapped around the building and the broken front window, the exterior Wednesday of Pizza Ranch appeared mostly undamaged to a parade of onlookers driving and walking by.

“This is a bad block,” Jefferson resident Noel Drewry observed.

The fire recalled a January 2013 blaze just a few doors down — three years ago, almost to the day — that ravaged Larry’s Restaurant and Lounge after three decades of business. Witnesses then reported seeing flames 20 to 30 feet in the air.

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Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161