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Arson Charges Lead To Arrest Of Ruthven Business Co-Owner

By Staff | Dec 9, 2008

ARREST MADE FOLLOWING 2005 BLAZE – A co-owner of Mama Moose's Restaurant and Lounge in Ruthven was arrested over the weekend by the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office on Arson Charges. Alicia Olson of Wallingford was charged with Arson in the Second Degree and Fraudulent Practices following the Dec. 25, 2005 blaze at the restaurant in Rutvhen. Ruthven and Dickens Firefighters fought the blaze, which caused significant structural damage amd smoke damage to the building, which remains closed. – Dan Voigt photo

Nearly three years after a Christmas Eve fire caused significant damage to a Ruthven business, one of the owners of the establishment has been charged with arson. The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office arrested 33-year old Alicia M. Olson of Wallingford on Saturday, Dec. 6, on charges of Arson in the Second Degree, a Class C Felony.

Olson was arrested without incident at 10:15 a.m. Saturday pursuant to a warrant issued following an extensive investigation into the fire that damaged “Mama Mooses'” Restaurant on Dec. 24, 2005.

The Ruthven Fire Department was called to the restaurant, located on old Highway 18 in Ruthven at 8:57 a.m. on Dec. 24, 2005, and found responded to the scene and found a significant amount of smoke coming from the restaurant. With assistance from the Dickens Fire Department, firefighters entered the restaurant and found flames in the basement, which were extinguished, but not before significant structural damage was done to floor joists under the kitchen area of the restaurant, along with smoke damage to the entire structure, according to Ruthven Fire Chief Dave Smith.

Due to the suspicious circumstances surrounding the blaze, Iowa Deputy State Fire Marshal David Schipper of Spencer responded to the scene the same day to investigate the scene to determine a possible cause of the blaze. That investigation resulted in the filing of charges of Arson in the Second Degree, a Class C Felony, and Fraudulent Practices being filed against Alicia M. Olson, a co-owner of the business.

The business has not re-opened since the blaze and the building remains unoccupied at this time.

Following her arrest on Saturday, Alicia M. Olson was booked into the Palo Alto County Jail, where she was being held in lieu of $26,000 bond. Olson remained in the Palo Alto County Jail as of Monday morning, Dec. 8.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office, Ruthven Fire Department, Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Palo Alto County Attorney’s Office all cooperated in the investigation of the fire.