Fighting Arson Draining Fire Budget

Fighting arson is becoming a cash-draining routine for some area firefighters. Investigators in Hutchinson county suspect the same person is behind seven fires started near Fritch since November.

Putting out those blazes has put area fire departments out an extra 25 to 30,000 dollars.   "When we have an added expense and it does eat away at their budget, it makes things difficult for a fire department to continue their operations," says Danny Richards with Hutchinson County Emergency Management.

Fire officials say they've stepped up patrolling around Fritch to keep an eye out for the arsonist.  "Who knows till we get them caught we're gonna have to be watchful," says Sanford Fire Chief David Hagler. Richards notes arson is a crime that carries a penalty of up to 25 years in prison. He plans to ask county commissioners to raise the reward for arson information to 10,000 dollars.

Investigators say they're in a hurry to catch the fire starter before fire season reaches full force. If you see anything suspicious you can contact Hutchinson County Emergency Management at 273-0999.