Arsonist setting hay bale fires in Collinsville

Wednesday, August 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Collinsville ranchers are losing tens of thousands of dollars, because someone is setting their hay on fire. It happened to rancher early Tuesday morning. Residents want to know who would want to burn their hay. They say they're not only losing hundreds hay bales, but they also put a lot of work into those fields. Now they're going to have to find another way to feed their cattle during winter.

Someone set five hundred bales of hay on fire shortly after midnight Tuesday. The family hired to work the fields say they saw a truck drive in front of the hay, slow down and then drive away. "But the truck came back and stopped a second time,” said Sue Upky. “Someone got out and we thought maybe the driver was just switching with the passenger and they left. Within a few minutes, they came back again and turned the lights out," she said.

The Upkys believe the suspect climbed over the fence and ran through a gate, because they say it was open and they never use it. The couple believe he set the hay on fire, jumped over another gate and took off. Within five minutes the Upkys say flames were high in the sky. "It was like one corner was on fire, then the whole thing was burning," said Randy Upky.

The Upkys say they've never experienced anything like this. They've lived just down the road from their pasture for 20 years. They say there's only one reason why someone would do this to them.
"Out of spite, revenge, just to be mean I guess,” said Upky. “I don't have the slightest idea why anyone would set it on fire. It's heartbreaking. It's horrible. There's no reason for this."

Upky says their burned hay was worth $10,000. Hay may not look like much to some people, but that's not the way the couple sees it. They say they see thousands of dollars going up in smoke.

The Upky's aren't the only victims in the hay-burning spree. Someone set fire to at least two other fields full of hay in Collinsville last week. The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office says the crime constitutes third degree arson which is a felony. They don't have any suspects, but they do have a description of the truck. It is a late model maroon Chevrolet truck with a wide gray stripe on the side. If anyone sees a truck that fits this description, they're asked to call the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.