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Red Cross Funds Go Missing from Second Street Fire

By Ellis Codjoe, December 07, 2017

Update: Ottumwa Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge says the Red Cross funds were recovered Thursday afternoon. He says the money was not stolen but did not provide any further details.

Original: Ottumwa Police Officers say they received a report last night of money going missing after it was given to a resident who lost his home in a fire.

The American Red Cross was called in to assist at least one of the residents of an apartment building that caught fire Wednesday evening.

As a part of the Red Cross assistance, the resident was presented with a red folder that included a debit card pre-loaded with money.

The resident was taking shelter from the cold inside the lobby of Westgate Towers, directly across the street from the fire, when the money went missing.

The resident reportedly left the red folder sitting on a bench when firefighters discovered his missing cat, alive, inside the building. He returned within minutes, but the red folder was gone.

Ottumwa Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge was inside Westgate Towers Thursday morning, reviewing surveillance footage. He referred us to the Ottumwa Police Department when asked about the incident.

Ottumwa Police Lieutenant Chad Farrington told Ottumwa Radio News that police received a report of the missing money and folder, but that the investigation was ongoing.

Benge adds that the fire was likely electrical in nature. He says witness statements and the nature of the fire leads him to believe the fire was not suspicious, but that the cause does remain under investigation.

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