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Officials Say Arsonist Caused Fort Dodge Blaze

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FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say an arsonist started a fire that destroyed a former church building in downtown Fort Dodge.

The fire was reported around 2 p.m. Saturday, and two exterior walls collapsed around 3:15 p.m.

The building was originally home to the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in the early 1900s, until the Fort Dodge Church of Christ moved into the building in the 1950s. In 1985 a private owner bought the building and lived there. A business has been using the building.

No one was reported inside the building during the fire, but Fire Chief Kent Hulett says there’s a report that a woman was inside the building before the fire was reported.

A reward of up to $15,000 is being offered for information. The arson hotline number is 800-532-1459.

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