Bluffs Firefighter accused of torching his own car


September 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A firefighter in Council Bluffs has been charged with arson, in connection with an early morning car fire which occurred in mid-February. 44-year old Henry Hinkel II, is accused of second-degree arson and fraudulent submissions to an insurer in a car fire that took place at around 3:30-a.m. on February 21st in Hinkel‘s driveway.

According to court documents, the fire destroyed Hinkel’s 2002 Jaguar. In an arrest warrant affidavit, State Fire Marshal investigator John Ticer wrote that his investigation determined an “ignitable liquid (gasoline)” was used to light the vehicle on fire. The court document also said the car was normally kept in the garage but was in the driveway that morning. The affidavit said Hinkel had a video surveillance camera monitoring the driveway, but the car was parked outside of the camera’s view. The camera does not show Hinkel until after the fire.

Council Bluffs Fire Chief Alan Byers said he has been advised not to comment on the charges. He directed questions about the case to the City Attorney’s Office. City Attorney Richard Wade was not available for comment, Friday. A trial in the matter is set for Nov. 22nd. Hinkel has been released on his own recognizance.