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Iowa men accused of setting fire that killed 2 others in 2006

Two Iowa men are accused of starting a fire that killed two other men, after an argument at a birthday party about ten years ago.
Zachary Dye and Christopher Yenger photos from Wapello County Jail

Two Iowa men are accused of starting a fire that killed two other men, after an argument at a birthday party about ten years ago.

Investigators said 20 to 30 people, all around the age of 21, went to a 21st birthday party that started at about 7 p.m. March 4, 2006 and ended between 3 and 5 a.m. March 5. At about 6:30 a.m., a neighbor reported smoke and flames coming from the home on 140th Street in rural Wapello County, Iowa.

Two people were outside of the home when firefighters arrived, but 22-year-old Seth Anderson and 20-year-old Nathan Messer, both from Ottumwa, never made it out of the burning home; they were sleeping on the second floor and they both died of smoke inhalation. The house sustained major damage from the fire, but the investigation was eventually closed with the origin and cause of the fire officially listed as undetermined.

Witnesses told investigators the day after the fire that Chris Yenger, of Ottumwa, had shown up to the party, and that he was asked to leave the party after he had a physical altercation with someone else there.

The case was reopened in January 2016, nearly ten years after the fire happened.

Yenger, now 28, and 27-year-old Zachary Dye of Council Bluffs, were arrested Monday, January 25, 2016, according to a statement from the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Yenger and Dye are each charged with two counts of felony murder, the statement said.

Both men were held at the Wapello County Jail.