The Hunt for a Firestarter: Authorities Offer Reward for Information in String of Suspicious Fires
VAN WERT COUNTY, Ohio - The State Fire Marshal is investigating a string of suspicious barn fires in Van Wert County as well as one in Rockford, Mercer County. Investigators believe these fires may be linked.
As a result of these incidents, the Blue Ribbon Arson Committee is offering a $5000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the fires.
The five fires have occurred since late January:
• 14349 Richey Rd, Ohio City, Gina Dairy Barn, Jan. 21, 2023.
• 14367 Dull Robinson Rd, Ohio City, Sutton Barn, Feb. 27, 2023.
• 12490 Van Wert Willshire Rd, Ohio City, Showalter Estate Barn, Mar. 4, 2023.
• 12377 Frysinger Rd, Rockford, Williams Barn, Mar. 4, 2023.
• 6116 Ainsworth Rd, Ohio City, Pond Barn, Mar. 9, 2023.
The Division of State Fire Marshal’s Fire and Explosion Investigation Bureau is hoping the public will come forward. "These incidents are not only causing extensive property damage, but also posing a serious threat to the safety of the community,” said Bureau Chief Josh Hobbs. “We are urging the public to come forward with any information, no matter how small, that could help us bring those responsible to justice."
Anyone who has seen suspicious activity in the area or has any information that could assist in the investigation is urged to come forward to contact the State Fire Marshal’s tip line at 800-589-2728.
The State Fire Marshal is part of the Ohio Department of Commerce, Ohio’s chief regulatory agency. The Department is focused on promoting prosperity and protecting what matters most to Ohioans. We ensure businesses follow the laws that help them create jobs and keep Ohioans safe. To learn more about what we do, visit our website at com.ohio.gov.