Fire total climbs to seven

The fire that destroyed the the Lehigh home of Vance and Chelsea Hill on Feb. 23 was the seventh major structure fire in Marion County since Dec. 16.

With one exception, nothing has been confirmed that the fires are related or were intentionally started.

Following is a list of the six previous incidents in sequential order.

? A fire at 211 N. North Ave. in Lehigh Dec. 16 destroyed a detached garage and its contents and did significant damage to the nearby house inhabited by Chris Jost and family. Firefighters arrived shortly after 4:30 p.m.

? A house fire at 602 S. Lincoln in Hillsboro caused severe damage Jan. 21. Firefighters responded at 1:36 a.m. amid single-digit temperatures and strong wind. Timothy and Asia Frye and their 18-month-old daughter escaped without injury.

? Faulty wiring was blamed for the destruction of a house at 211 N. Prospect in Lehigh during the early morning hours Jan. 27.

Owners Rick and Gina Mounts, and their pets, were not injured. The couple?s children were spending the night with other family members.

Lehigh Fire Chief Brian Unrau said that within minutes of the smoke alarm going off, the entire main floor of the house was fully engulfed in flames.

? Hillsboro firefighters battled a garage fire during the early morning hours of Jan. 27, at 309 S. Cedar. Even though fire personnel were at the scene within minutes following the 911 call, they were unable to save the family dog or the 30-foot by 30-foot metal building and its contents.

Two investigators from the Kansas State Fire Marshal?s office in Topeka were called to the scene as a precaution following this fourth fire. They said the cause could not be determined.

? A barn was destroyed by fire in Peabody Jan. 30. Officials said the fire was suspicious because nothing was visible that could have ignited a fire.

The ?Old McKercher? barn, as it was known, was located behind a house at 311 N. Maple St. Kansas Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information about the fire.

In addition, the Peabody Police Department is asking the public to come forward with any information. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or Police Chief Bruce Burke at 620-983-2133.

? The historic home known as the Barker House in Burns, owned by Les and Rhonda Loucks, was destroyed by fire Feb. 12.

The Loucks and six children who were living at home escaped unharmed.

No cause had been determined at last report.

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