[UPDATE] Owner of Eastern Iowa Restaurant Damaged By Fire Has Been Arrested
Four Linn County Fire Departments responded to the scene of a restaurant fire late Saturday evening.
According to a media release from the Linn County Sheriff's Office, fire crews from the Alburnett, Central City, Coggon, and Marion Fire Departments all responded to a fire in Central City at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday night. Deputies from the Linn County Sheriff's Office also went to the scene, along with Center Point Ambulance Service.
When firefighters arrived at 2 Al Waterhouse Avenue in Central City, the Sheriff's Office says one of two restaurant's in the building below was 'ablaze.'
The fire happened at a restaurant formerly known as Stove House Family Restaurant. It closed in 2020.
In the summer of 2022, the restaurant reopened with a new owner, Heidi Liegl. In September, the restaurant debuted a new menu and changed its name to Farm House Diner. According to its Facebook page, the restaurant closes at 9 p.m. on Saturdays, or about 2 1/2 hours before fire crews responded to the report of a fire.
Liegl is also the owner of Cherry Meadow Winery and Distillery. At the end of September, the business announced they would be moving from Marion into a building next to the Farm House Diner in Central City.
Late Wednesday afternoon, January 11, the Linn County Sheriff's Office announced that their investigation, in conjunction with the State Fire Marshal's Division of the Iowa Department of Public Safety, determined the fire had been intentionally set.
43-year-old Heidi Leigl has been arrested and charged with 1st Degree Arson and Insurance Fraud. She's being held at the Linn County Correctional Center on Mays Island in Cedar Rapids.
According to the Linn County Sheriff's Office, the Saturday night fire in Central City "caused significant damage to the restaurant (Farm House Diner) and minor damage to the adjacent Subway. Nobody was in the building at the time of the incident."
The Iowa State Fire Marshal's Office and Linn County Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate the fire.
We will update this story as more information becomes available.