Officials say they may never know what caused fatal Arlington fire

Home was being warmed with space heaters, investigators say

Published: February 12 2014 | 1:19 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:32 am in

The cause of a fire that killed five people in Arlington late last month will likely never be known, according to the Iowa State Fire Marshal's office.

Ron Humphrey, an investigator with the State Fire Marshal's office, said Wednesday that, though the investigation remains open, investigators will likely never know the cause of the fire that killed three adults and two children late last month.

"It was a two-story farm house turned into a pile of ash, and there is literally nothing left to look at to determine the cause," Humphrey said. "We've got some ideas, but we will never be able to prove exactly what started it."

Through talking to family members that had been in the house, Humphrey said investigators were able to determine the house was being kept warm with space heaters. However, the cause of the fire will likely remain undetermined, because they will never be certain the space heaters were the cause.

"We have to be 100 percent sure when we determine cause, and even if we think it was space heaters, unless we're 100 percent, we won't say it," Humphrey said, adding that the space heaters will likely be mentioned as a possible in the state's final report.

The fire occurred early Jan. 24 at 5094 F Ave., about four miles southwest of Arlington.

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