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Suspicious Barn Fire CR 343


Cape Girardeau County
Sheriff's Department



DATE: October 13, 2010

A Barn fire occurred on Monday night around Midnight on Cape Girardeau County road 343 west of Jackson near Tilsit, Missouri. Several hundred round bales of hay and the 127 ‘ x 40 ‘ barn was destroyed by fire. The loss to the landowner is in the neighborhood of $75,000.00.

This office and the Gordonville Fire Department have the fire listed as undetermined in cause and origin. The fire however is suspicious in nature as no utilities were connected to the barn, there was no severe weather in the area, there have been multiple fires of farm structures in and around the Jackson area that have been determined to likely be set or incendiary fires, and the likely hood of spontaneous combustion is low based on the following facts.

The bales of hay stored in the barn 7 weeks ago were checked by the landowners at the time of storage to only contained 14 ½ percent moisture. Bales of hay collected at the same time were stored in another barn and were tested today to be at 14-½ % moisture and 74 to 82 degrees internal temperature. Moisture content in excess of 25% and temperatures approaching 150 degrees or greater would have to be reached to cause spontaneous combustion.

The University of Missouri Extension Office recommends hay not be stored with moisture content higher than 18 to 20 %.

The Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri State Fire Marshal's Office have rewards of several thousand dollars available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of person or persons responsible for settings fires in Missouri.

The Sheriff is asking for anyone with information to call the Sheriff's Office, Missouri Fire Marshal, Missouri Farm Bureau or Crime Stoppers Hotline and help us put a stop to these fires before someone gets hurt.