The Ottumwa Courier

November 25, 2013

OFD investigating apparent arson

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — A structure fire on Friday afternoon has yielded an investigation from the Ottumwa Fire Department.

At approximately 7:30 a.m., fire officials were called to a fire at a home in the 1600 block of East Main Street, and when they got there they realized something was suspicious about the fire. It turns out the home had been vacated for quite some time, and the utilities for the home had been shut off for a few weeks, according to Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge.

From the ongoing investigation of the property, fire officials have determined that the back door of the home had been kicked in and that the fire was set ablaze intentionally by work of an arsonist.

Benge said the investigation will continue over the next few weeks. He is currently in the process of following any kind of lead available and talking with witnesses who could give more information.

Once he gathers notes and other findings, he will send them to a crime lab to be analyzed. It will then be a few weeks before the crime lab will be able to tell anything.

Anyone with information about the fire is encouraged to contact the Ottumwa Fire Department or the Ottumwa Police Department.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh