Council Bluffs authorities said Monday they have video showing a Bluffs man entering his estranged wife's home minutes before the house caught fire.
The blaze killed Mark Vander Woude, 43, and gutted the house he once shared with his wife, Lori, and their three children, who were not home at the time.
Bluffs authorities say the video is evidence that Mark Vander Woude deliberately set the Feb. 25 fire at 46 Norwood Drive, though it does not specifically show him doing so.
Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Chad Meyers said police had placed a video camera in the area, pointed toward the house.
Vander Woude was facing a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault at the time of his death. He was also facing at least two charges of violating a restraining order his wife had taken out against him.
“We wanted to put together a solid case,” Meyers said. “A restraining order violation often comes down to one's word against another's.”
Fire Chief Alan Byers released a description of the video Monday. He would not release the actual video.
According to fire officials, at 3:06 p.m., Vander Woude backed his work van into the driveway of the house. He got out, leaving the van running.
Out of the camera's view, Vander Woude entered the house. The video then showed him raising the garage door from inside. He then opened the rear doors of the van.
Authorities believe he then removed “flammable liquids” from the vehicle, though the video does not show exactly what he is removing.
He closed the garage door. Then, a little over two minutes later, there was a large flash of fire inside the house that partially blew the garage door off its tracks.
The fire rapidly spread throughout the home. By 3:18 p.m. when the first Bluffs fire engine arrived, the blaze had extended to the second floor and was beginning to damage the siding of the house to the north.
Firefighters later found Vander Woude's body on the second floor.
Authorities expect the state crime lab in Ankeny will find that gasoline was used as an accelerant in the blaze after samples from the scene are tested.
“Our investigation is waiting on some lab results to confirm what we think we know,” Byers said.
Vander Woude's family could not be reached for comment Monday.
Chad Nation of the World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.
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