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Two Monday Car Fires Not Considered Suspicious

By Nick Davis, September 11, 2017

A string of suspicious car fires in Ottumwa had authorities on alert when two car fires were reported within 30 minutes of each-other in Ottumwa.

However, Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge confirmed that neither of the car fires reported Monday are being treated as suspicious.

Crews have responded to approximately a dozen suspicious car fires so far this year.

Firefighters were first called to Highway 149 northbound between 5th Street and Woodland Avenue on reports that a car was on fire at 1:53 Monday afternoon.

Deputy Chief Benge says the driver suffered minor burns when her sun visor caught fire and dripped onto her. She was checked out by paramedics but was not transported to the hospital.

Approximately 30 minutes later, at 2:29 P.M. crews were called to the 1000 block of Ingersol Street, near the southern edge of Ottumwa, on reports of a car on fire in the front yard of a home.

Benge says neighbors saw the fire start and confirmed that it was mechanical in nature. Nobody was injured in the second fire.

Benge adds that the investigation into the dozen or more suspicious car fires continues. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ottumwa Fire Department at 641-683-0667 or the Ottumwa Police Deparment at 641-683-0661.

A $10,000 reward has been offered by the Iowa State Fire Marshall for information that leads to an arrest and successful prosecution.

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