Fire officials have some leads in a series of hay and barn fires that have done thousands of dollars' worth of damage in Utah and Salt Lake counties this past week.
"We have several suspects; none solid enough to make an arrest yet," said Utah County Fire Marshal Tom Wroe said.Blazes have occurred in the unincorporated county, Lehi, Pleasant Grove, Lindon, Orem, Payson and Riverton. Wroe said fires charred structures or hay in one of those areas nearly every night since last Monday.
There have been 11 fires in all. "We feel that all 11 of these fires are connected and connected to with same person or persons doing it," said Brent Halladay, state chief deputy fire marshal.
Wroe advised farmers to spread their hay out in several locations to avoid losing it all should a fire break out.
Investigators have not determined a motive. "We don't know the mindset of who we are dealing with," Wroe said.
Fire officials are taking a task-force approach to the investigation. Halladay met with Wroe Monday. Municipal fire departments, most of which are staffed by volunteers, and police agencies are also assisting in the probe.
Most of the fires have started late at night and in the early morning. The method of ignition has been the same for nearly every blaze, Halladay said.
Wroe estimated damage done by blazes in the unincorporated county to be $30,000 to $35,000.
Sunday's barn fire in Orem destroyed about $10,000 worth of property. Other blazes have done damage ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, officials said.
Investigators are looking for a two-tone 1973 or newer pickup, with brown possibly being the darker of the two colors. The truck is also said to have a loud exhaust system.