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Missouri Valley teen charged in connection with 3 fires

Missouri Valley teen charged in connection with 3 fires

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An Iowa teen has been arrested on suspicion of setting a vacant house on fire three times last year, and authorities are seeking the public's help in solving other suspicious fire cases.

Coty William Cates, 19, of Missouri Valley has been charged with three counts of second-degree arson, the Iowa Department of Public Safety said Thursday.

The charges stem from fires at 1003 Granite St. in Missouri Valley on Oct. 4, 9 and 10.

The house is a total loss, said Special Agent John Ticer, a state arson investigator.

State and local officials continue to investigate several other possible arsons in the area, including a house at 2279 U.S. Highway 30 that exploded Oct. 27, 2013; numerous hay bales set ablaze on Oct. 31, 2014; and a vacant house fire at 105 W. Superior St. on March 7.

Anyone with information is asked to call Missouri Valley police at 712-642-2736 or the State Fire Marshal Division at 712-308-3977.

The Superior Street blaze led to the arrest of then-Missouri Valley Fire Chief Johnnie Walker, who is charged with interference with official acts and reporting false information about that fire. Walker has pleaded not guilty.

Investigators know of no connection between Walker and Cates, Ticer said. The teen is believed to have acted alone.

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