Suspicious fires under investigation in Van Wert, Mercer counties

VAN WERT COUNTY — Investigators and the state fire marshal are searching for an arson suspect in a string of suspicious fires in the area, offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

According to a press release, five fires have occurred since late January: Gina Dairy Barn on Jan, 21, Sutton Barn on Feb. 27, Showalter Estate Barn on March 4, Williams Barn on March 4 and Pond Barn on March 9. All but one fire took place in Van Wert County, except one, in Mercer County.

“These incidents are not only causing extensive property damage, but also posing a serious threat to the safety of the community,” Bureau Chief Josh Hobbs said in the release. “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 with information can call the state fire marshal’s tip line at 800-589-2728.