By Dan Spalding
NAPPANEE – Two barn fires near Nappanee Thursday night appear to be the latest in a string of apparent arson fires in Kosciusko, Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties, police said.
Authorities are investigating as many as ten fires in southern Elkhart County, northwest Kosciusko County and St. Joseph County, according to Kosciusko County Sheriff Kyle Dukes.
The two on Thursday night, June 10, were at 12957 N. CR 700W and 7249 W. CR 1150N.
Dukes said investigators have found similarities in the fires, many of which are happening late at night.
The Indiana State Fire Marshall is investigating the scenes and sheriffs with the three counties are coordinating an investigation, Dukes said.
He said he spent much of Friday talking with homeowners and the Amish community about the investigation.
“Everybody’s worried and scared that their barn is next. We got people camping out in barns,” Dukes said.
At the same time, Dukes added, “I feel comfortable that this is a very solvable case.”
No injuries or animal deaths were reported, but one of the farmers in Thursday’s fire lost a collection of antique tractors handed down from his family, Dukes said.
He said he’s organized a meeting with Amish church leaders for Monday night to keep people updated on the investigation.
Dukes said they have no reason to believe a barn fire north of Pierceton, which happened late Thursday afternoon, is part of the investigation.