Barn Fire Ruled Arson

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An arson in Montour County is the third fire outside Danville in the last five weeks.

The cause of the other two fires were undetermined, but the frequency of the fires now has authorities more suspicious about what has been going on.

Investigators in that area of Montour and Northumberland counties are all too familiar with serial arsonists.

A former firefighter was convicted of setting numerous fires a few years ago, including one that severely injured another firefighter.

Police are not saying they are dealing with a serial arsonist again after Sunday night’s barn fire, but fire officials are concerned someone could be behind a string of recent fires.

Neil Jenkin’s barn is a shell of what it was after flames ripped through the place near Danville Sunday evening. The fire was no accident.

A state police fire marshal was looking through the debris Monday and discovered someone had torched the barn.

Jenkins was able to save his beef cattle, but the barn and equipment inside were destroyed.

“Got the rest of the animals in the barn out, that was pretty much it, pulled the door shut, tried to keep the draft from igniting it any farther, it was a little late for that,” Jenkins said.

“There was approximately 200 bales of hay on this end of the barn which is where the fire started. There was a good wind blowing, came right in door, into hay,” explained Liberty Township Fire Chief Larry Brown.

Fire officials said you could see the glow of the fire from several miles away. There was little firefighters could do to save the barn, but they did keep the nearby home from catching fire.

According to investigators two more fires happened in the last five weeks just in the vicinity of Sunday night’s barn fire. One at another farm and another at a vacant house. Both have been ruled undetermined in nature, meaning there was too much damage to determine exactly what caused the fires.

“Leaves everyone quite concerned. All the farmers in the area are on edge, everyone’s on edge,” Chief Brown added.

Firefighters said it is unusual to see this many fires in their area. If someone is responsible for all three of them, Neil Jenkins hopes they are caught.

“They’ll get caught sooner or later. Everyone slips up,” Jenkins added.

Investigators said the farmer has insurance.

Anyone with information about the fires that might lead to an arrest can call state police in Northumberland County.