This story has been edited after the original story was posted to correct a factual error. The original story is on file with the News Director.
MEADE COUNTY, Kan. (KAMR/KCIT) – The Meade County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that there was “no evidence” that fires along the K-23 Highway were started intentionally, after investigating a witness report given on Thursday.
The sheriff’s office said that on Thursday, multiple fire units were sent to southern Meade County to respond to reports of multiple fires along the K-23 Highway. A witness noted that a vehicle near the shoulder of the northbound lane merged slowly onto the highway, and that fire was seen rapidly growing near where the vehicle was parked. The Meade County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the witness, who described the incident as suspicious.
The driver of the vehicle was stopped by law enforcement and arrested for a traffic offense unrelated to the fires, according to the sheriff’s office. An investigation determined that the vehicle was experiencing mechanical failures that caused the engine to stop running. When the driver would coast to the shoulder due to the mechanical failure, the driver would wait a few minutes before restarting the vehicle to continue traveling.
According to the sheriff’s office, the driver was cooperative during the investigation. Investigators reported that the mechanical failures in the engine caused backfires through the exhaust and that flames were seen coming from the exhaust pipe.
Anyone with relevant information on the fires on K-23 on the Kansas and Oklahoma border was asked to contact the Meade County Sheriff’s Office.