Second Bemrich fire was arson

By BILL SHEA

bshea@messengernews.net

The second of two recent blazes which devastated Bemrich Electric & Telephone Inc. in Fort Dodge was the result of arson, investigators have determined.

”It was an intentionally set fire,” Fire Chief Kent Hulett said Tuesday evening.

He said the July 13 fire remains under investigation by the fire and police departments.

That blaze followed a June 21 fire at the company’s building at 110 S. 21st St. which was also the work of arsonists, according to investigators. Two men have been arrested in connection with that incident.

The June 21 fire was reported at 2:43 a.m. Firefighters from Fort Dodge and Webster City extinguished it by 4:45 a.m. Portions of the building’s walls that appeared to be dangerously unstable were torn down that night.

Two suspects in that incident were arrested within about a week.

Tanner J. King, 22, and Gregory P. White, 23, both of Fort Dodge, have each been charged with first-degree arson, second-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree theft, possession of a firearm as a felon, third-degree burglary, first-degree criminal mischief and second-degree criminal mischief.

The July 13 fire broke out in a northern portion of the building which largely escaped damage during the earlier blaze.

It was reported at 1:45 a.m. and emergency personnel were on the scene until 6:30 a.m. Upon arriving, firefighters found the north wing of the building fully engulfed in flames.

Bemrich Electric & Telephone Inc. has been operating out of a building near Central Avenue and 21st Street since the first fire.