Arrest made on First Degree Arson charge in February 2022 fire on Allamakee Street ...

After more than a year’s worth of investigation by local, State of Iowa and Federal authorities into the February 13, 2022 fire at 9 Allamakee Street in Waukon (pictured above) that destroyed two business buildings and damaged others located in adjacent structures, authorities arrested property owner Mindy Jo Jones, age 43, Monday afternoon, March 13 in Waterloo, her latest known residence location. According to a release from the Waukon Police Department, Jones is being charged with Arson-First Degree (a Class B felony) and is also being charged with Animal Abuse (an aggravated misdemeanor) for the death of a canine as a result of the fire.

Jones was initially booked into the Black Hawk County Jail in Waterloo early that Monday afternoon after her arrest and then released about an hour later for transport back to the Allamakee County Public Safety Center in Waukon, where she was booked into that facility in the late afternoon. She was released on a $25,000 bond early Monday evening, the maximum bond amount that a judge can set for a Class B felony charge, according to State of Iowa Code.

The fire that broke out Sunday evening, February 13, 2022 was initially responded to by the Waukon Fire Department and Waukon Police Department and was determined to have started in the Tin, Rust & Harmony business owned by Jones at that 9 Allamakee Street location in Waukon. The Decorah Fire Department, Lansing Fire Department, Waterville Fire Department and Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office also assisted at the scene. Due to circumstances surrounding the fire, the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office was requested to investigate. Special Agent in Charge Ron Humphrey of the State of Iowa Fire Marshal’s Office recently noted that the physical investigation at the fire scene was completed months ago but further interviews of witnesses and other individuals continued to extend the investigation throughout this past year’s time. “It was one of those cases where one interview would often lead to information that prompted another interview, and the agents in charge of the case wanted to make sure they followed through on everything they could in order to do as thorough of a job as possible in a case like this,” Humphrey shared.

In the meantime, court documents indicate that Jones had filed a lawsuit against her insurance company in Allamakee County District Court February 7 of this year regarding a breach of contract for refusing to pay on the insurance claim she filed for damages sustained as a result of the fire. Additional court documentation further clarifies that the attorney that filed that lawsuit for Jones soon after withdrew from representing her in the case due to “a breakdown of the attorney-client relationship”, a request granted by the court.

The Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office was assisted in the investigation process this past year by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Iowa DCI Lab, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Allamakee County Attorney’s Office. A criminal charge is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

City of Waukon officials have an agreement with a contractor licensed in asbestos abatement to clean up the fire site. After facing delays from other projects they have been involved with, the contractor has continued to inform City officials that they are preparing to begin the clean-up process once there is a foreseeable stretch of favorable weather conditions. Additional details will be provided as they become available. Standard photo by Joe Moses.