Fire a Black Bass Lake deemed suspicious

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Parks Director Justin Huss said he got a call Wednesday, Nov. 29, from someone at Black Bass Lake asking if Parks was performing a controlled burn despite the burn ban. Huss said as he approached the lake he saw the hillside to the left of the dam still smoldering. He called police.

Detective Paul Sebby said in his report he arrived at 11:30 a.m. and found a log with what appeared to be a burned cloth on top. The report stated that nearby Sebby found “a charcoal fuel can, a fork and some tin foil, and just below the burned remains was a Mike’s Hard Lemonade bottle with burned cloth stuffed into the bottle.”

Sebby surmised someone had attempted to make a Molotov cocktail. He also found a red cap, possibly from the fuel can, and another piece of burned cloth on a rock. While taking photos and collecting evidence, Sebby also discovered a .22 caliber casing. Evidence was sent to the crime lab for processing.

Also responding were Fire Chief Nick Samac, firefighter Nathan Drebenstedt and Capt. Shane Stanley. In Stanley’s report, he observed the fire spread through a 100×100-ft. area between the pump house and the dam. The fire appeared to have started at a log near the bottom of the hill and spread in a V pattern uphill. The report indicated only leaves and twigs on the ground were affected, and there was no evidence of charred or burned areas on the trees.

Sebby reported the original witness was Laurel Owen who had been out walking that morning. The report indicated Owen noticed the hillside still smoldering at the end of her walk around 7:15 a.m. She also reported hearing a gunshot while on her walk, but did not see anyone.

The investigation is ongoing.

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