Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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February 3, 2014

Update: Fire at Wal-Mart

Knoxville — Juveniles are accused of starting a fire at the Knoxville Wal-Mart Monday night. Two others are accused of attempting to start a fire at Knoxville Farm and Home as well. 

Knoxville Deputy Fire Chief Ben Truetken said the department was dispatched to Wal-Mart at 6:50 p.m. There were no victims found at the time, but there were heavy smoke conditions inside the building. The fire, for the most part, had been extinguished prior to the KFD's arrival. 

The KFD set to work ventilating the building, which had been evacuated. Pleasantville Emergency Services and Knoxville Township Fire each supplied industrial fans to assist in the ventilation process. 

Items in the Home Furnishings aisle of the store were ignited, which was the cause of the fire. The building has a sprinkler system, but insufficient heat was generated to activate the sprinkler system. 

Lt. Justin Kingrey with the Marion County Sheriff's Office is the department's arson investigator, and led the investigation into the Wal-Mart fire, with the assistance of the Knoxville Police Department. 

According to an MCSO press release, officers reviewed security camera footage and with information, were led to two homes in Knoxville. Contact was made with one juvenile at each home. After interviewing the juvenile males, they were taken into custody and transported to the Eldora Juvenile Detention Center. Both have been charged with Arson-First Degree, a Class "B" Felony. 

During the Wal-Mart investigation, the KPD was also called to investigate an incident at Knoxville Farm and Home. Through this investigation, it was determined that the same juveniles had been involved with damage at Farm and Home, resulting in additional charges of Arson-Second Degree and Criminal Mischief.

Farm and Home is open. Wal-Mart employees were at work inside the building around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, though the store was still not open to the public. Wal-Mart had no comment regarding the fire and the Journal-Express was referred to corporate media relations. 

We hope to bring you more details when they become available. 

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