Investigators now say last week’s massive fire that consumed thousands of cars at the Behr Mason City scrap yard was -not- an accident. Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Kevin Pals says an investigation by his office and the state fire marshal’s office has turned up evidence and materials that lead them to believe the fire was an act of arson.
Pals says they’ve concluded the fire is of suspicious origin, first of all, given “the unusual circumstance involving of a stack of cars starting on fire by themselves, which is highly unusual.” Pals says investigators have ruled out the possibility of the fire being accidental.
The sheriff says it was an intentionally set fire and they intend to find the people responsible and hold them accountable. While the investigation is ongoing and the Sheriff’s Department is following up on a number of leads, Pals says they have no reason to believe the fire was the result of an “inside job.”
Pals says “The amount of loss that Behr has incurred, obviously we find it very unlikely it would be anybody inside that would even think of starting this because Behr Mason City is actually the loser in this fire, not only with the product but other things that were damaged due to the intense heat.”
The fire broke out last Wednesday morning and consumed between six-thousand and eight-thousand crushed cars. The blaze produced a huge plume of smoke that was visible up to ten miles away. Behr Mason City is offering a reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.