RiverView Ridge on fire

The $6 million RiverView Ridge Living Center in Rock Valley caught fire Tuesday, July 2.

ROCK VALLEY—A $6 million Rock Valley assisted-living facility was engulfed by flames Tuesday, July 2.

Rock Valley firefighters were battling a blaze at RiverView Ridge Living Center, a two-story facility located on a four-acre property on the south side of Westview Drive in the southwest part of the Sioux County community early Tuesday morning.

Firefighters arrived to the facility at about 6:30 a.m. Rock Valley fire chief Brent Eshuis said the main entrance was locked to they forced their way in before quickly being pulled back.

“When we rolled up on-scene, there was smoke two-thirds of the building up in the roof area. The whole length of the building was light smoke,” said Rock Valley fire chief Brent Eshuis. “We made entry — the smoke turned black. The interior conditions deteriorated way too quick for us to be in there. We pulled everybody out. We knew we had to go defensive operation right away.”

The building was unoccupied and there have been no injuries.

“We have to keep everybody safe. It’s not worth getting hurt for an empty building,” Eshuis said.

The Hull, Sioux Center and Orange City fire departments assisted the Rock Valley Fire Department in battling the blaze. Sioux Center and Orange City supplied aerial trucks. Eshuis estimated about 60 firefighters arrived to the fire, along with ambulance personnel, local police and the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.

Eshuis said it is too early to know the cause of the fire or where it originated.

“At this point, the sprinkler system to the building was not hooked up yet, so we could not use that,” he said. “Right now, the State Fire Marshall will be en route and the ATF in Des Moines will be assisting, and possibly the ATF out of Sioux Falls — with the investigation.”

Firefighters expect to be containing the fire for most of the day and Eshuis estimates about 300,000 to 400,000 gallons of water will be used.

“Just avoid the area. Limit your water use,” the fire chief said. “We need as much water as we can get.”

RiverView Ridge had 42 suites — mostly one-bedroom units, with some two-bedroom units and three studios, too. The facility also will include a bistro for casual dining, two dining rooms, two private dining areas, conference rooms, activity areas, a chapel, physical therapy and fitness centers, indoor garages and storage units.

The facility was slated to open soon. About 90 shareholders who are mainly from the Rock Valley area funded the project.

Despite the fire, the shareholders of the property do not sound like they have given up on the concept, according to a post from the RiverView Ridge Facebook page.

"Such a beautiful building. So sad. We'll have to start over. I hope everyone has a God given patience," the post said.

This is developing story. Stay tuned to nwestiowa.com for updates.