Vera Firefighters Turn Up Heat On Possible Arsonist
VERA, Oklahoma - Firefighters all across our area are thankful we've received rain. But in one part of Green Country, they don't want folks to let the guard down.
Even though the wildfire danger isn't as bad, they want people to still keep an eye out for an arsonist who may have set as many as 200 fires. The Owens and Company Fire Department in Vera has already gone through two-thirds of its annual budget.
As our weather gets warmer, investigators want the public to help turn up the heat on the arsonist who is to blame.
Washington County Deputy Scott Owen is spending a lot of time rolling along rural roads in Southern Washington County.
"You can see, there's plenty of burn," Owen said.
He's patrolling near Vera, on the lookout for an arsonist, who is setting dozens of fires.
"I really want to get him bad, him or her, whoever it is. I want to put them behind bars," said Owen.
Firefighters and investigators with the Washington County Sheriff's Office think the same person may be responsible for as many as 200 fires over the past year and a half.
"There's nothing more than a patrol deputy would like to do is to catch one of these guys, make a case, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law and put a stop to this needless waste of time and money," said Owen.
All of the fires are set to spread rapidly during ideal burn conditions, like windy, warm days. Deputies are increasing patrols in the area.
"There are a lot of homes, lot of ranch houses, mobile home structures, outbuildings, oil field equipment," Owen said.
Owen doesn't want those properties, or lives, threatened.
Since News On 6, aired a story about the arsons, investigators have received a tip from someone in the area about a turquoise colored mini-van. They're following up on that lead now.
Because the areas where the fires are set are so rural, investigators said it's extremely important for people to call in if they see anything suspicious. The Washington County Sheriff's Office number is 918-338-4001.