Statute runs out on Keota street fire
KEOTA – After three years of investigating a fire that destroyed part of a city block in downtown Keota, a special agent with the Iowa Bureau of Arson and Explosives confirmed that the statute of limitations on the blaze expires today.
Special Agent Justin Wade reported that no new evidence had been found on the case since The Washington Evening Journal spoke with him last year. The fire, which destroyed several buildings on Dec. 4, 2010, was declared arson in late December 2010. He said the statute of limitations on being able to press charges on someone for the crime has a three-year limit. He said the case was “pretty much dead.”
“If the statute of limitations runs out, there is not much more we can do,” he said.
He said if a suspect were found whom there is sufficient evidence to charge, the department would have to check other statutory law to determine a charge. He said that the Iowa Bureau of Arson and Explosives had spent a few days at the scene of the fire in 2010. The bureau had interviewed eyewitnesses afterward. He said there had been a few leads, but nothing that led to any solid suspects.
The block on Broadway Street was quickly rebuilt after the fire, and now hosts four business owners in the lot that once held the remains of the burned buildings. Bill Miller, who owns Miller Autobody, put up a new building in March 2012. In a previous interview, he said that people have told him the building looks bigger than the lumberyard in which the fire started. The front portion of the building contains two offices, while the back end of the building is used to store vehicles. The storage facility holds 30 units.