Mason City man faces charges after allegedly setting multiple fires

(ABC 6 News) – Mason City Police said a man is in custody after several fires started Tuesday morning around the city.

Zachary Bruce Sankey, 39 of Mason City, was arrested and faces charges of 3rd-degree burglary-non vehicle and 2nd-degree arson-value over $750. He’s being held in the Cerro Gordo County Jail.

Mason City Police and Fire Department’s responded to numerous fire calls between 5:22 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. The fire calls occurred at the following locations in Mason City.

  • 5:22 a.m. – 324 S Kentucky Avenue – garage fire
  • 5:30 a.m. – Birch Drive / N Rhode Island Avenue – brush fire
  • 6:25 a.m. – Arona Home Essentials, 3701 4th Street SW – vehicle fire
  • 6:45 a.m. – Brothers Ace Hardware, 440 S Illinois Avenue – structure fire
  • 7:15 a.m. – Gracious Estates, 777 S Eisenhower Avenue – structure fire

“There was evidence that there was some sort of accelerant used to start the fire,” Mason City Police Chief, Jeff Brinkley said.

The Mason City Fire Department responded to each call as they were reported to the dispatch center with the assistance of Clear Lake Fire Department and Ambulance responding via mutual aid.

No injuries were reported at any of the incidents.

Sankey was taken into custody by law enforcement officers at 7:41 a.m. At that time, he was identified as the suspect in the fire at Brothers Ace Hardware. Sankey was transported to the Cerro Gordo County Jail and charged with 3rd Degree Burglary and 2nd Degree Arson for that fire. He remains in custody at this time.

“We are asking for the public’s help in terms of trying to identify any suspicious activity that they make have observed, or maybe that their video cameras would’ve captured around these locations, between about 3:49 a.m. and 7:41 a.m.,” Brinkley explained.

MCFD and MCPD are asking for the public’s help with this investigation. If you live, work or travel through the areas of one of these fires and saw suspicious activity or have video recordings between 3:49 a.m. and 7:41 a.m. that may be useful to the investigation, please contact the Mason City Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at 641-421-3636.

Brinkley said they are still investigating the crime to see why these locations were targeted.

MCFD and MCPD were assisted in this response and investigation by the Clear Lake Fire Department, the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Iowa State Patrol.