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Two Juveniles Arrested Following Fire at Agassiz Pre-School

By Ellis Codjoe, August 08, 2017

Officials credit watchful neighbors for preventing damage to Agassiz Pre-School following a fire Tuesday morning.

Firefighters were called to the school at 7:15 on reports of juveniles starting a fire in a shed next to the school. When firefighters arrived, they found smoke coming from the shed that sits about half a foot away from the school’s exterior wall.

Crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire before it caused much damage. Ottumwa Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge says the shed can still be used with minor repairs “to just a board or two.”

Benge, along with Ottumwa Schools Maintenance Supervisor Chuck Bray, credit vigilant neighbors for spotting the fire early and calling 911.

Bray says none of the equipment stored in the shed was damaged.

Benge says two juveniles are in custody as a result of the investigation. He has no additional information on the juveniles including what led authorities to arrest them.

The neighborhood has suffered a string of arson related fires earlier this year. The fires stopped following the March arrest of 19 year old Alex Wynn, who allegedly started a fire in his own home, across the street from Agassiz School.

Benge said he’s not sure if the fire Tuesday was related to fires earlier in the year but said the MO was similar in simply igniting common combustibles.

The school building received no damage as a result of the fire. The investigation is ongoing.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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