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Arson a possibility in hay bale fire in Durham

Staff writer

Durham fire fighters extinguished two hay bales that might have been ignited by an arsonist early Saturday morning.

At 1:15 a.m., Durham fire responded to a call for hay bales on fire just north of the Durham Elementary School.

Acting fire chief Tim Koehn said a row of two bales were barely smoldering about 15 feet from the school.

He said the fire was easy to put out. However, the way it was burning made officials suspect arson as a possible cause.

“The bales were smoldering on the outside of each end,” Koehn said. “If hay bales spontaneously combust it typically starts on the inside of the bales. That made us suspicious.”

He said there was no wind, a lot of moisture in the cool night air, and that there was never much danger of the vacant school catching on fire because of the lack of wind and big flames.

A sheriff’s deputy also responded, whom Koehn said contacted the state fire marshal.

“It was ruled as ‘incendiary’ which means the fire was initially set by someone,” Kevin Doel public information manager with the state fire marshal’s office said.

The determination could be used in the event that an arson charge is filed.

Last modified Nov. 9, 2016

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