State police are investigating a suspected vandalism spree early this morning during which three separate fires burned a car and bales of hay in northern Butler County.
The fires in Worth and Slippery Rock townships happened just several minutes and several miles apart, authorities said.
“These were intentionally-set fires,” said Ron Steele, captain of the Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire Company, “and we believe they're all connected.”
Firefighters from three departments helped put out the blazes. No one was injured.
A passing motorist reported the first fire — a burning car — about 1:45 a.m. in the 800 block of West Park Road.
The vehicle, which was in the owner's yard, was being advertised for sale.
While putting out the flames, firefighters got a call for another fire just a half mile down the same road.
A passer-by at 1:58 a.m. reported seeing round bales of hay burning on the side of the road in the 1000 block of West Park Road in Worth Township.
Steele said the fire destroyed the six hay bales, causing about $600 in damage.
As firefighters were extinguishing that fire, they got a call at 2:07 a.m. of a third blaze, this one on Forrester Road, about 7 miles north in neighboring Slippery Rock Township.
That fire, Steele said, turned out to be caused when someone set fire to two more round hay bales. Damage also was estimated at $600.
Trooper Luke Nelson of the state police fire marshal's office said that police are investigating the fires to the hay bales as acts of criminal mischief.
The car fire, if proved it was deliberately set, would be investigated as an arson.