Investigators in Sioux City believe two fires in the last two weeks in a couple of historic buildings may be connected. A fire Saturday damaged the building built in the early 1900’s that once housed the Florence Crittenden Home. The home once offered services for disadvantaged children.
A fire on June 14th damaged the historic Bekins Storage building, which was built in the 1890’s. Sioux City fire marshal Chuck Hirsch says the fire is Crittendon fire is suspicious as the building is vacant. He says there’s no utilities to the building and no reason to have an accidental fire, so they believe the fire was intentionally set.
Hirsch says the fire similar to the fire last week and they are concerned it might be a pattern. Hirsch says they’ve formed a task force with the police department, the A.T.F. and crimestoppers to look into the connection.
Hirsch says they want to get a handle on the situation and get it stopped as quickly as possible. He says even though the buildings are vacant, the fires pose a danger to the surrounding area and the firefighters who have to fight the fires. Hirsch is asking property owners to help.
Hirsch says they ask that building owners "make darn sure that it is very secure, locked up, boarded up" so access by unauthorized people is eliminated as much as possible. He says if people can’t get into the buildings, then they can’t start them on fire. A reward of up to $5,000 dollars is being offered for tips that lead to an arrest or conviction in the fires.