MCCUNE — In the past two years, the Kansas State Fire Marshal has assisted the Crawford County Sheriff’s and McCune Fire Departments with nine separate fires believed to be arson.
The nine fires occurred in McCune between September 5, 2015 and August 2 of this year. An origin and cause examination was conducted at each of the scenes by state fire marshal investigators, and all nine have been classified as resulting from an incendiary cause.
A fire with an incendiary cause is determined to be started purposefully, when the person starting the fire knows it should not be lit.
The fires are still being actively investigated by CRSO and the state fire marshal in a joint effort.
According to Sheriff Dan Peak, all houses were empty when the blazes were lit.
“The houses were all vacant at the time of the fires,” he said. “And most were completely uninhabited.”
Monday night, the McCune City Council approved a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the individual or individuals responsible for the fires.
While the fires look like they may be connected, Peak said no possibility is being ruled out.
“We don’t want to speculate. We are investigating every possibility and looking at the evidence,” he said. “To the common person it can look like the same person is responsible for these fires, but we are not speculating.”
The fires occurred at the following properties in McCune:
602 Elm Street — September 5, 2015
709 6th Street — November 7, 2015
503 Brunetti Drive — November 8, 2015
711 6th Street — April 4, 2016
703 6th Street — March 28, 2017
606 7th Street — June 18, 2017
704 7th Street — July 20, 2017
511 Walnut Street — July 21, 2017
812 6th Street — August 2, 2017
According to the Crawford County Register of Deeds Office, none of the properties are owned by the same person or persons.
CRSO and the state fire marshal ask that anyone with information regarding these fires call CRSO at 620-724-8274 or the Office of the State Fire Marshal at 785-296-3401. Tips may also be submitted online at www.firemarshal.ks.gov/arson.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.