Car sought in arson probe

A vehicle is being sought by Fort Dodge Police in connection with an arson at a former church Saturday afternoon.

The car, a Scion xB, was taken from the building before the fire started, according to Fort Dodge Police Chief Tim Carmody.

Detectives are now seeking the car as they investigate Saturday’s fire at 1029 First Ave. N.

Carmody said the car is yellow and green with the word “juice” painted on the side.

Its license plate is 583WXL.

“The vehicle has been customized and contains a number of video and audio upgrades,” Carmody said.

In addition to the car, detectives are also looking to speak with anyone who was in the area of 1029 First Ave. N. in the hours before the fire. Carmody said they may have information that could help solve the case.

The fire was discovered by Officer Bryan Slama, who was on patrol in the area at 1:45 p.m.

Fort Dodge firefighters, along with those from area departments, battled the fire all afternoon before turning the investigation over to the Fort Dodge Police Department at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

The fire was later ruled an arson.

The Fort Dodge Fire Department said the building, which housed Ag Advantage, a magazine and marketing business, was a total loss.

Nobody was hurt in the fire.

An occupant of the building left the scene before the fire had been discovered, according to Fort Dodge Fire Chief Kent Hulett.

The building was built in the 1880s, and served as the Bethlehem Lutheran Church starting in the early 1900s. The Fort Dodge Church of Christ moved into the building in the 1950s.

The church later sold the building to Roger Habhab in 1985.

Anyone with information on the Scion or the fire at the Ag Advantage building Saturday is asked to call Fort Dodge Police Detective Steve Hanson at 573-1426 or Webster County Crime Stoppers at 573-1444. Tips can also be sent online at wccrimestoppers.com or by texting “LEC” and the tip to 274637.