The University of Iowa

Update: Fire Investigation at Bowen Science Building Complete

The Iowa City Fire Department (ICFD) and University of Iowa Fire Safety Coordinator have completed their investigation into the fire that occurred on the second floor of the Bowen Science Building on Sunday, June 11.

Investigators have determined the cause of the fire was accidental, and that it was likely started by an idle electrical extension cord.

This incident serves as a reminder that:

  • Extension cords should be used for a limited time period.
  • Extension cords should not be used as a replacement to permanent wiring.
  • After use, it is best to unplug extension cords from the electrical outlet.
  • Extension cords should be grounded, and properly sized to handle the load of equipment they are supporting.


At this time, all faculty, staff, and students displaced by the fire have been relocated, but the recovery period is ongoing.

The ICFD and UI Fire Safety Coordinator initially estimated the damage of the area impacted by fire at $500,000. That damage estimate has been increased to $1.5 million to include water damage throughout the floor below. This estimate does not include damage to lab equipment, or other supplies that may need to be repaired or replaced, and the process of assessing that damage is ongoing.

If you have any additional questions, please contact: 
Hayley Bruce, spokesperson, UI Department of Public Safety, 319-384-0072