Investigators are calling the cause of a fatal fire in southwest Iowa “suspicious.” Council Bluffs Fire Chief Alan Beyers says crews were called to a two-story home just after 3 p.m. Monday and found both floors engulfed in flames.
“We’re listing the fire, at this time, as suspicious. We’re doing that based on a couple of previous non-fire incidents at the residence that caused us some concern about what was going on in that area,” Beyers says. After the fire was brought under control, a body was found in a bedroom on the second floor.
The victim is identified as 43-year-old Mark Vanderwoude. Beyers say it appears the fire was intentionally set. “There was a lot of severe damage in a very short amount of time,” Beyers says. “We believe that we have found an accelerant was used to start the fire.”
It’s unclear if Vanderwoude may’ve started the fire himself. “If he had an involvement in the fire itself, we may never know all the facts in the end,” Beyers says. “We’ll piece together what we can from the lab results.” An autopsy will be performed by the State Medical Examiner’s Office to determine Vanderwoud’s exact cause of death.
By Karla James