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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 24, 2017

Man arrested in relation to Washington house fire

By XIOMARA LEVSEN | Oct 04, 2013
Photo by: XIOMARA LEVSEN Firefighters extinguish a blaze that totally engulfed a house in Washington Tuesday afternoon.

WASHINGTON, Iowa (GTNS) – According to a press release from the Washington County Communications Center, Jonathan Beam has been arrested in Hebron, Neb., and charged with second-degree arson.

He is in custody at the Thayer County Sheriff’s Office in Hebron. and is awaiting extradition back to Washington. His bond has been set at $20,000 cash only, the press release said.

Arson in the second degree in Iowa is a Class C felony and punishable by up to 10 years in prison with a fine ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, the press release said.

The charges are a result of the house fire at 2180 Lexington Blvd. Tuesday at Beam’s residence. Paperwork from the warrant wasn’t available today. The warrant has to be served and then the paperwork will become available, said Shawn Ellingson from the Washington Police Department. He declined to release any details from the arrest warrant.

The fire was reported to the Washington County Communications Center at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday. Flames and smoke could be seen coming from the home and Beam was listed as a missing person in the communications center call log.

Thursday’s call log indicated a search warrant was executed at 324 Olive Ave. in Hebron, Neb., whereupon Beam was taken into custody.

The family lost everything in the fire. Five of the children attend schools in the Washington Community School District, said the Washington Middle School guidance counselor Belinda Robinson. She said the school district contacted the family to see what assistance was needed.

The Washington County Enrichment Fund was contacted by the school district to see if it could help, Robinson said. The Enrichment Fund gave the family a $100 gift card to buy food that evening, and another gift card of $175 for supplies, Robinson said.

A former teacher also left a $100 gift card at the middle school to use as needed, and that was given to the family, Robinson said.

Robinson said she has kept in contact with the family throughout this week to help them as much as possible.

“We’re just trying to make sure the kids have what they need to do their best while they’re here,” Robinson said.

Jennifer Hartman is also assisting the Beam family by having donations dropped off at her house.

She said she doesn’t know the family personally but has a daughter who attends Washington Middle School with some of the children.

“When I heard about the fire, I looked around and just imagined if I lost everything to a fire,” Hartman said.

Hartman has reached out to Lynette Beam. She asked Lynette what items her family needed, and Lynette said “everything.”

She decided her home, at 709 N. Marion Ave., would be a great place to have items dropped off.

“I thought having somewhere in town that is a localized drop-off site, where we can sort through items, would be better,” Hartman said. “I also have an empty garage that isn’t being used right now.”

The items the family needs include two sets of bunk beds and dressers for the children, all types of toiletry items from shampoo to conditioner; Depends diapers, size medium; dog and cat food; socks for the boys; shoes for the boys, children sizes 5 and 7; boys pants, sizes 10-12 and 12–14; boys shirts, size large; men’s pants, sizes 28-30 or 28-32; men’s small shirts; and men’s shoes, size 13.

People wishing to donate items may drop them off at Hartman’s residence during daytime hours or leave her a message on her answering machine at 319-653-2277.

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