The Pana Fire Department was dispatched around 5pm Monday for a structural fire in the area of Cedar and 1st Streets.
“There was heavy smoke showing and flames coming through the roof,” explains Pana’s Fire Chief, Rod Bland. He says the building is known to Pana residents as the old east end grocery store.
“This corner was burning up through the back. It had already gotten up into the roof and attic in the smaller section of the building. We were here within six minutes and it was already up into the second story,” Bland explains.
The fire chief says the fire is expected to be arson.
“We have a history of that going on lately. Not too long ago we had four fires in one night, all arson. We had two fires a month or so ago down the road. Same thing. We definitely have an arsonist in town,” says Bland, stating the arsonist is still on the loose. He says he believes it might be the same person setting the fires.
“They all have the same M.O. It’s looking like the same type of stuff. They’re all vacant homes that have been empty for a while, no power to them, no electricity. It doesn’t look good,” he says.
The Fire Department does not have any leads at this time. Anyone with information is asked to contact Pana Fire and Police Departments.
“Someone doing this, they’ll graduate. They’ll start getting braver and braver,” says Bland. “They’ll start getting in someplace where there could be even more damage and some injuries. That concerns me a lot.”