FORT MADISON - Two fires Sunday have city officials now looking to the state for help as arson comes into focus.
The fires, which were extinguished by Fort Madison Police officers before they got out of hand, did minimal damage. But officials say these were the first in the latest string of fires that were set on or near occupied homes.
FMPD Police Chief Mark Rohloff issued the following statement Sunday outlining the recent fires in the 2800 block of Avenue O.
"Shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday, the Fort Madison Fire Department was dispatched to a residential fire. Although initially given an incorrect location, a police officer located flames outside a house several blocks away in the 2800 block of Avenue O, and was able to extinguish
it. No serious damage resulted, and the home remains occupied.
Department arson-trained investigators were called in and are currently conducting interviews. An initial investigation revealed an accelerant was used at an outside corner of the residence, and that a secondary fire was located across the street to a neighbor’s decorative yard ornament. Valuable trace evidence has been collected.
These most recent events are believed to possibly be related to a string of fires on the city’s south side in recent months and is the third on this same two block stretch of Avenue O. Previously the structures were vacant, dilapidated houses. This is the first known attempt on an occupied
home. Consequently, the State Fire Marshal has been contacted and the investigation continues."
Damage to the home consisted of smoke from the accelerant and almost no charring. Siding was removed by FMFD to ensure there was no smoldering.
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