‘It’s ridiculous:’ Fort Madison residents speak out after occupied home arson attempt

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 5:50 PM CST
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FORT MADISON (WGEM) - Before the start of the new year, three vacant homes fell victim to fires in Ft. Madison.

After what Fort Madison Police are calling an arson attempt on a home that was occupied, at 2805 Avenue O, residents on the southside of town are becoming very concerned with safety in the area.

Avenue O resident Laurie Link said a vacant house fire, in addition to other crime, is nothing out of the ordinary.

“I’ve had theft from my own property, so when I hear vehicles pull up and stop, I take a look outside to see who is out there or what’s going on,” Link said.

Link said she currently has cameras on the outside of her home, but after Sunday morning’s arson attempt, she’s looking to make some upgrades.

“Unbelievable that people are setting fires to people’s homes and what’s the reason? Why? Why are you doing that?” she said. “Those are homes that people are paying for and living in, it makes no sense.”

While Police Chief Mark Rohloff said investigators were able to collect evidence, there aren’t any specific suspects to acknowledge at this time.

Rohloff declined to say what specific evidence was collected.

“Officers arrived during a light snow fall, so there was some indication of when the person was there, what direction they left,” Rohloff said. ”I think that we were fortunate to recover some significant evidence at the time. Quite often with fires, evidence is usually totally consumed.”

Rohloff said there were flames on the rear side of the 2805 Avenue O residence, no one was hurt and the home is still livable.

Avenue O resident Hobert White said house fires did not start happening in the neighborhood until recently.

Now, he said he notices law enforcement frequenting the neighborhood.

“Find something to do other than set fires, I mean people have got to live, people work for the place and pay all that money for it,” White said. “It’s getting scary around here with all these fires popping up.”

Rohloff said Fort Madison Police are handling the investigation and are being assisted by the state fire marshal. He said to contact the police department at 319-372-2525 if you see see anything suspicious.

One of two Fort Madison House Fires
One of two Fort Madison House Fires(WGEM)

Recent vacant house fires include 1733 Avenue L, 2722 Avenue O and 2635 Avenue I.

One of two Fort Madison House Fires
One of two Fort Madison House Fires(WGEM)

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