Iowa Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division
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First Recorded Arson Fires Graphic

Provided by the Iowa Historical Society and the Fayette County Historical Society

On September 15-16, 1872, the Fayette County Courthouse in West Union, Iowa was intentionally set on fire by a prisoner awaiting trial. The courthouse was destroyed with only a few books saved. Many other records and papers were burned. The contents of the safe were found unharmed.

Provided by the State Fire Marshal's First Annual Report to the Governor in 1911

On the evening of July 30, 1911, a fire occurred in the city of Dubuque destroying a lumbar yard of the Spahn-Rose Lumber Company, and damaging the plumbing establishment of the Kretchmer company, and the canning factory of Weinecke-Hoar Company. One John Dickson was arrested and charged with setting the fire. He was given a preliminary hearing August 5th and bound over to the grand jury by which he was indicted. He was tried in November 1911 and acquitted.

Provided by the Des Moines Register November 11, 1919 Article

Rov Eflin and Clyde Firebaugh were arrested after a dictaphone was hidden in their Des Moines hotel room while they were down in the lobby eating dinner. They were arrested after agents learned they were responsible for intentionally setting fires to target Dutch residents in Jasper County. The fires included:

  • November 1918 - Schoolhouse in Jasper County attended by Dutch children.
  • July 1919 - New Sharon Reformed Church attended by Dutch residents.
  • September 27, 1919 - Barns burned at the farm of Dutch resident Gels Voss in addition to other fires at dwellings and barns in Jasper County belonging to Dutch settlers.

Iowa Department of Public Safety
State Fire Marshal Division
215 East 7th Street | Des Moines, Iowa 50319 | 515-725-6145

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