|General area of fires iscircled on map
||Burnt remains of FlutySchoolhouse
||Burnt boards from barnfire on CR 43
The Baxter County Sheriff's Office is seeking assistance from the public in the investigation into two suspicious fires, believed to be arsons, that occurred on September 4th in the areas of Baxter CR 43 and CR 46 in the rural Gamaliel area.
At approximately 8:30 PM on September 4th, Sheriff's Deputy Tracy Munson responded to a report that a barn near 3729 CR 43 had been on fire, but had been extinguished by a neighbor. Some smoldering boards had been pulled from inside the barn, and the fire appeared to have been deliberately started.
While taking this report, Deputy Munson also learned that there was another fire at the old Fluty schoolhouse, which is nearby on Baxter CR 46. Deputy Munson arrived at the Fluty Schoolhouse to discover it was completely burned down, with the remains of the structure and the surrounding trees and brush on fire. The 101 Gamaliel Fire Department was called to the scene. Sheriff's Investigator Eric Neal was also dispatched to process the fire as a crime scene.
During this investigation, the Sheriff's Office was contacted by the Bakersfield, Missouri Fire Department in Ozark County and informed that they were responding to their third structure fire in the nearby Bakersfield Fire District, two of the three which occurred simultaneously, and had reason to suspect foul play in at least two of them.
Sheriff's Investigators were able to collect some physical evidence at the Gamaliel area fire scenes, and persons living in the area provided some potential, but unverified, suspect vehicle information.
The investigation is still actively underway. The Sheriff's Office is asking for any member of the public having information concerning these fires to contact the Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division at 870-425-7000 or leave a tip on the Sheriff's Office Tip Hot Line at 870-424-4636. All assistance will be greatly appreciated.
/s/ John F. Montgomery, Baxter County Sheriff
Inv. Neal - CID