(LINTON) - Police and fire officials are trying to figure out why someone apparently fired flares from a shotgun Friday morning igniting two field fires and nearly catching a home ablaze.
Nick Schneider, of the Greene County Daily World, reported the first fire was reported at 7:19 a.m. burned between 6 to 8 acres of property that is part of the Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, owned by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, according to Linton Fire Chief Brad Sparks.
The blaze was near Goose Pond Unit 12, just off of County Road 25S, near County Road 1375W in Stockton Township.
Fire units from Linton, Wright Township, Dugger, Pleasantville and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources fought the blaze and contained it about 8:50 a.m., Sparks said.
The fire chief said seven spent shell casings were found near the field fire, suggesting that the blaze wasn't an accident.
"Somebody had to be clowning around. The sheriff's department is looking into it," he said.
A second fire was reported in a field about a mile away near Wampler Lake, which is part of the Greene-Sullivan State Forest, on County Road 50S/County Road 1500W.
This fire was discovered by Steve Arthur and a friend, who were out mushroom hunting, who told police he had stopped at Wampler Lake and noticed a white-colored car speeding down the gravel road.
Department of Natural Resources employee Chuck Davidson tries to douse a blaze near Goose Pond Unit 12 that appears to have been set by someone shooting flares.
Arthur and his friend then left and drove around a corner and noticed the fire.
"Right before that they said they heard a shot. What they heard was a shotgun that they were shooting flare loads out of," Sparks said.
The fire soon spread to within about 50 feet of a residence, but quick work by the two men probably saved the home.
After seeing the fire in a nearby field, the men went and knocked on the door. Finding no one at home, the men alertly hooked up a garden hose at the house and kept the blaze from spreading, Sparks explained.
"Whenever I got there with the brush truck it was just a little bit of fire left and we went ahead and soaked it all down," Sparks said. "If they wouldn't have stopped it (the fire) would have made its way to it (the house)."
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