Firefighters say a huge blaze that destroyed a long-time Iowa City business and two apartments was caused by a resident who left a pot of oil burning unattended.
Investigators said Thursday the fire that destroyed the Dental Lab, Inc. started in one of the apartment units also housed in the building. It originated in a pot of oil on the stovetop, and then ignited nearby combustibles and quickly spread through the building's ceiling.
Residents were able to escape without injury, but the building was declared a total loss. The Dental Lab has long supplied area dentists with custom-built dentures and other items.
The Iowa City Fire Department says the leading cause of kitchen fires in the city is unattended cooking.