Suspected arsonist set fires close to homes in Camden County

Published: Mar. 15, 2018 at 9:49 PM CDT
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A suspected arsonist is wreaking havoc in Camden County.

Authorities are looking for the person responsible for setting fires near some homes close to Missouri State Route 5.

Nikki Byler asked, "What is your problem? Is there a reason you tried to kill my family?"

She returned to her home on Willow Creek Road in Camdenton Wednesday afternoon to find a brush fire racing toward her neighborhood.

"I called 911 and by the time they got there the entire valley was up in flames. It just raced up that hill and I took off running," she said.

Three houses were the direct target of the flames.

"There was no saving anything that got in the way because it was fast. There was nothing you could do," said Byler.

She said she's taking this personally.

"If you look at the highway, where it started, if you look up here you can see a line of houses with a trampoline and swing sets, clearly a lot of kids toys. This was going right at a line of families," she said.

Chief Scott Frandsen of the Mid-County Fire Protection District said, "On the first fire you could have said somebody threw a cigarette out or something along those lines. But when you have two fires in basically the exact same area, within minutes apart, there's no other conclusion that you could make other than it was intentionally set."

Near Macks Creek, crews were fighting another fire Thursday afternoon officials believe was set on purpose.

The Missouri Department of Conservation brought in heavy equipment to help battle the fire. It has to be put out without water because it's burning in a remote area on a hill.

"We really don't know why people do it," said Fransden.

Back in Camdenton, people who live on Willow Creek Road say they're still in shock about a fire that was set so close to their homes.

Byler said, "I don't think they would like anyone trying to kill their family intentionally, you know. What was the purpose of this? Why?"

If you know anything about any of these fires call the Camden County Sheriff's Office or 9-1-1 right away.

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