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Officials suspect juvenile responsible for Onaga fires

By The Mercury

Authorities suspect a juvenile may be responsible for a series of arson fires in the Onaga area.

Although no arrests had been made as of early this week, Greg Riat, Pottawatomie County sheriff, said he has sent an investigation report to the county attorney’s office and continues to work closely with that office on the matter. Officials are also looking for a “person of interest” in the incidents.

Riat said the investigation into the fires is ongoing, and he is still seeking assistance from anyone with information regarding the incidents.

The Pottawatomie County Commission has authorized a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the fires.

There have been four fires in the Onaga area since mid-April, two of which have been determined by the State Fire Marshal’s office as arson, and two more which have been termed “suspicious.”

An April 23 fire which destroyed a vacant commercial building at 119 East Third, Onaga, was believed to have been set intentionally. A storage building at 416 Leonard St., Onaga, was destroyed by fire May 21, and an abandoned farmhouse at 16400 K-16 Highway, Wheaton, was leveled by fire June 14.

The most recent fire destroyed an unoccupied residence at 208 East Second, Onaga, in the early-morning hours of July 6. The fire marshal’s office determined that fire to be arson.

Anyone with information regarding the fires is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 785-457-3353. Callers may remain anonymous, Riat said.

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