Rewards offered for information in Feb. 9 barn arson
Licking County Crime Stoppers and the Ohio State Fire Marshal are looking for information regarding two barn fires that occurred near Johnstown, and they’re willing to pay for it.
According to the Licking County Crime Stoppers website, the organization is offering up to a $1,000 reward to anyone with information leading to arrests in the two fires.
A barn fire at 3660 N. County Line Road in Croton was reported to the Licking County Sheriff’s Office at about 6:45 a.m. Feb. 9. The fire resulted in damage estimated at more than $6,000 to the barn and contents. The barn stored a tractor and other equipment, hay and various goods.
Shane Cartmill, chief of communications with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, said the fire has been ruled an arson.
“Any tip would be important,” he said.
Cartmill said a Blue Ribbon arson reward of up to $5,000 was posted on the premises in addition to the Licking County Crime Stoppers reward. He said people should watch for others who act “overly knowledgeable” about the event and have an unusually high level of interest.
According to the Ohio FAIR Plan website, the Blue Ribbon Arson Committee sponsors a reward fund for information leading to the identification of those responsible for arson fires in Ohio. Since the committee was formed in the 1970s, it has issued 459 awards (totaling more than a half-million dollars) and has assisted in solving 542 fires. It has also helped keep the insurance industry from paying more than $6.5 million in fraudulent claims.
A second barn fire — the origin of which is still considered to be “undetermined” — was reported at about 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 23 at the Clever Seed Corn Co. at 15218 Downing Road near Centerburg.
The fire caused more than $1 million in damage to a barn and its contents, mostly farm equipment.
While the organization can “review information” in the case of the second fire, Cartmill said, no blue ribbon reward is being offered. The fires are being treated as separate incidents, he said, but considering their proximity it’s possible they could be related.
“We want to examine every possibility,” he said.
Anyone with information on these crimes is asked to call Licking County Crime Stoppers at (740) 349-6888, Licking County Sheriff’s Office or State Fire Marshal’s Office. A coding system protects the identity of the caller but allows for the reward to be issued at a later time.