SHELDON, Iowa (KCAU) — Officials at the Sheldon Fire Co. confirmed one person died in a structure fire early Monday morning.

According to the Sheldon Fire Co. Facebook page, crews were called to an apartment fire around 1 a.m. at the 200 block of 8th Street. Officials stated that firefighters noted heavy smoke coming from the front and flames coming out of the bedroom window when they arrived and were unable to complete an interior attack.

The department requested assistance from fire departments in Sanborn and Hospers for equipment and crew.

One death was confirmed after the fire was contained and transported to the State medical examiner in Ankeny for positive identification.

The fire also damaged neighboring apartments resulting in 11 occupants without homes.

Sheldon Assistant Fire Chief Brad Hindt said he saw heavy smoke and flames as the crews made multiple entries into the structure. He also noted that a fire like this is not common in Sheldon.

“Talking to the Fire Chief, he’s been on for 37 years, this is the first fatality he has had since he’s been on in a fire in Sheldon. I would have to do some more research to see if there was one or when the last one was,” said Hindt.

A Sheldon man who lives near where the fire occurred said he’s worried about the safety of his friend.

“My friend is actually in the apartment next door and trying to just find out if that apartment was damaged or not and how they’re doing since they got woke up in the middle of the night to leave,” said Kramme.

Crews discovered the victim of the fire in a back bedroom when they entered the apartment for a second time. The identity of the victim and the cause is still under investigation.

The Sheldon Fire Co. was assisted by the Sanborn Fire Department, Hospers Fire Department, Sheldon Police Department, O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office, O’Brien County Emergency Management, Sheldon Community Ambulance and Mid-American Energy.