The preliminary investigation of an October 26th fire near Council Bluffs concludes it was intentionally set. Public-Safety Department spokesman Jim Saunders says the federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms joined the state fire marshal’s office in the investigation.
Saunders says they’re waiting for some lab analysis before making a final determination just what caused it, but have concluded definitely that the fire was not caused by a pickup truck parked in the area, as had been reported by some. Saunders says they’ve concluded that the fire started in the northeast corner of a building that houses the offices of Stern Oil.
They believe the fire had already started before the fire department got the first 9-1-1 call about it, around 4-30 that morning. While several factors including the heavy damage have made the investigation difficult, he says “At this point it appears that this may be the random act of a single individual.”
They’re specifically interested in talking with anybody who was in the area of 189th Street and Applewood, which runs parallel to Interstate-29 between Bellvue Avenue and MidAmerica power plant, and may have seen something there between two and 3-30 in the morning on October 26th.
There’s now a fifteen-thousand-dollar reward for information that helps them make an arrest and conviction. They can contact the Mills County Sheriff’s Department or the state fire marshal’s office.