Firefighters say a huge blaze that destroyed a longtime 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. The pot of oil on the stovetop ignited nearby combustibles. Flames quickly spread through the building's ceiling.
Residents escaped 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.