SIOUX CITY — The death of a Sioux City woman who died from injuries suffered in a Feb. 4 fire has been ruled a homicide.
Wanda Blake, 51, died Feb. 27 at a Sioux City hospital after spending several days in intensive care before being released to a rehabilitation facility.
On Wednesday, the Sioux City Police Department said that an autopsy performed at the Iowa State Medical Examiner's office in Ankeny listed the cause of death as homicide. Once the medical examiner has completed a full report, it will be forwarded to the Woodbury County Attorney's Office for review and filing of appropriate charges, a police department news release said.
Robert Mahoney, 51, of Sioux City, has been charged with first-degree arson and pleaded not guilty last month in Woodbury County District Court. His trial is scheduled for April 17.
Mahoney is accused of setting the fire that damaged several units at Central Apartments, 613 11th St. Blake and another person suffered life-threatening injuries in the fire, and nearly two dozen residents of the building were unable to return to their homes immediately because of the fire damage.
According to court documents, Mahoney told police he was bored and started lighting papers on fire inside his apartment using an aerosol can of bug spray and a lighter. Once the initial fire went out, Mahoney told investigators he saturated a table full of papers with bug spray and lit it on fire, court documents said.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, smoke was coming out of Mahoney’s apartment and had consumed the first floor of the two-story structure.