Investigation into string of rural Hays blazes in full swing
By KARI BLURTON
Ellis County Sheriff Ed Harbin wants kids in Ellis County to feel safe and said it is one of many reasons he wants to arrest the person or persons responsible for causing 20 fires in Ellis County.
“Obviously, we are angry about it, but what concerns me is the fear put into some of the residents in the county,” Harbin said. “I have talked to some people and their kids were just so terrified that they didn’t want to sleep at night because they were afraid someone was going to set their house on fire.”
It has been more than two weeks since the last round of arson fires in Ellis County – but the investigation into the fires, which began in early March, is in full swing by local law enforcement and the office of the Kansas State Fire Marshal.
“There is always a concern (the fires) will start up again, but (the arsonists) basically have the upper hand. They know what they are going to do and when they are going to do it,” Harbin said.
He said the department is following up on leads, conducting interviews and have sent out subpoenas seeking information, and there also is evidence being analyzed at a crime lab.
Harbin said group of concerned residents — led by one of the earliest victims of the fires — has raised a $2,500 dollar reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Harbin urged residents to use caution and not attempt to find the arsonist themselves. Anyone with any information that could aid the investigation is asked to call the sheriff’s department at (785) 625-1040.