The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

July 22, 2013

Fire intentionally set

OTTUMWA — A suspicious house fire was purposely set, investigators now say.

According to Ottumwa's fire marshal, Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge, the structure fire on July 14 at 1630 Locust St. is officially ruled an arson. The Ottumwa Fire Department and the Ottumwa Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance in solving the crime.

Firefighters responded to 1630 E. Locust St. at 2 a.m. to find the entire back side of the house ablaze. There was extensive fire, smoke and water damage. No one was home.

The next day, Chief Tony Miller acknowledged the fire "may be suspicious," and that there would be an investigation. Benge, the city's main fire investigator, said he requested the Iowa State Fire Marshal's accelerant detection dog to help firefighters investigate the blaze.

"You could say that was one of the tools we used to figure this out," Benge said.

The conclusion of arson was announced Monday.

"We investigate every house fire," Benge said, adding that they are not necessarily looking for arson.

He called in the dog, he said, partly because evidence wasn't showing an accidental cause.

"Some fires are 'undetermined;' I have no idea how they started," Benge said, "But we always try to determine a cause."

This is the only intentionally set structure fire known in Ottumwa this year, but it's far from being the only house fire.

This arson represents Ottumwa's 30th structure fire in the first seven months of the year, an average of about four fires per month. In 2012, the city saw 34 structure fires or about three per month on average.

A reward is being offered for information which leads to an arrest. Call crime stoppers at 641-684-5555 or the Ottumwa Fire Department at 641-683-0666.

— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark.

1
Text Only
Ottumwa
  • 0418 OTT Tree City U.S.A. logo Ottumwa awarded as Tree City U.S.A. again OTTUMWA — Having big, beautiful trees throughout a community can help spruce up a city and make it more attractive to visitors. Ottumwa has shown a dedication to making the community more green and inviting, and the efforts have been recognized by th

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT OEDC director -T Guiding our growth

    OTTUMWA — An organization designed to help Ottumwa grow has found a new employee in Indiana. The Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) board has chosen Sharon Stroh as the group's new executive director. “We are confident she will hit the g

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Camp Wapello fence photo -T -M -L Good fence irritates good neighbor DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature. Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road. In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • City Council approves sale of properties OTTUMWA — On Tuesday the Ottumwa City Council met for the last regularly scheduled meeting of April. Included in the agenda for the evening were several dispositions of city owned property. Structures and land located at 519 W. Fourth St., 723 E. Mar

    April 15, 2014

  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0415 Right side up monster truck pic Nice driver --- mean machine OTTUMWA --- Drivers sat at one end of their vehicles during the "pit party," meeting fans and signing autographs before the motorsport and monster truck exhibition at Bridge View Center this weekend. Monster truck driver Orville Hill let kids --- and

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0415 OTT Composting ethical pic Recycling in a garden OTTUMWA --- Parents will tell you: They hate to see kids waste food. A gardner named Scott Koepke feels the same way. “First, let’s get our food to people who are going to eat it,” he said. “It hurts me to see kids in the schools throw away an entire

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0412 OTT Pothole color photo -T -M [Duplicate] A bumper crop of potholes OTTUMWA — The nice weather has been putting the bad roads on display. Officials say good: It gives us a chance to fix them. “Every city is going through the same thing,” said Larry Seals, Ottumwa Public Works director. “It has been an unusual winter

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Home in a tent OTTUMWA -- As people live without shelter, they become desperate finding a place to sleep. The situation impacts more than just the community's homeless. "There is nowhere to put people who are homeless," said Mary Margaret Butler. "Nowhere." Ottumwa

    April 11, 2014

  • 0412 OTT Martha Speaks color photo -T -M Ottumwa children visited by cartoon star OTTUMWA — Iowa Public Television is celebrating its 45-year anniversary this year by helping communities like Ottumwa educate young children before they get into a school setting. One of the programs they are using to help reach out to children is by

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National