UPDATE: Fire marshals unable to ID cause of Cedar Street fire

Two investigators with the Kansas State Fire Marshal?s office were unable to determine the cause of an early morning garage fire Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 309 S. Cedar.

Based on this new information, Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning said Thursday that his office will be assisting state and local fire officials in determining the ?exact? cause of the blaze, and whether it should be ruled accidental or suspicious.

Police are also needing help from the person driving by Ben and Paula Wiebe?s home at 4:30 a.m., who initially alerted them of the fire.

?We would like the person reporting the fire to please come forward,? Kinning said. ?He can either call us (620-947-3440) or stop by the office (414 N. Ash St.)

Wally Roberts and Jeff Davis of Topeka, investigators with the Kansas State Fire Marshal?s office, were called in by Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee to help in determining the cause of this fire. With four structural fires in about six weeks, Steketee said it?s a good idea to bring in the experts.

?We are not suspecting foul play,? he said. ?It?s more of a precaution.?

The other three incidents included a garage fire, reported about 3:20 a.m. Dec. 16 in Lehigh. Another garage was destroyed in the early morning hours Jan. 7. Six days prior to the South Cedar blaze on Jan. 21, a fire destroyed a two-story house in Lehigh.

In this most recent incident, the fire started within a 30-foot by 30-foot metal building. Within minutes the entire buildng was engulfed in flames, leaving the burnt remains of two vehicles, some guns, welding equipment and other flammable items.

The family pet, Reba, a 2-year-old Labrador Retriever, died in the fire.

Anyone with information about this latest fire, or any of the other three incidents, is encouraged to call either the Lehigh Fire Department, 620-483-4176; Hillsboro Fire Department, 620-947-3556, or the Hillsboro Police Department, 620-947-3440.

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