Great Bend Fire Department and the Barton County Sheriff’s Office, along with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, spent Friday investigating an early morning structure fire in a machine shed located at 633 West U.S. 56 in Dundee, Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said. A blue Ford F-150 pickup that was stolen from a two-car garage at the same location was later recovered.
Authorities were dispatched at 1:38 a.m. Friday after someone passing through Dundee saw the flames and called 911. They arrived at Clark Farms and found the Morton-style machine shed in flames. The fact that the truck was missing was discovered as the investigation got under way.
At last report, the cause of the fire could not be determined, and a damage estimate from the fire was unavailable.
Sheriff Greg Armstrong said officers from the Kansas Highway Patrol and BCSO stopped a man walking on U.S. 56 at SE 60 Ave., shortly before 9 a.m. Friday. He said he had gotten his vehicle stuck in the river near the Diversion Dam and was walking back to Great Bend. The man, identified as Kyle Stout, 26, told officers he was with a woman but they got separated while walking back to town. Stout was arrested on drug- and weapon-related charges.
KHP and the BCSO conducted a search of the river, using ground and air units, and found the stolen pickup near the river just east of the Diversion Dam, and a Ford Escape in the river, west of the dam. The woman was not located but officers later learned she had been picked up by a motorist on U.S. 56 who took her into Great Bend.
During the search and investigation, the Barton County Communications Center received another report of a stolen vehicle not far from Clark Farms. Mark Knope said he was farming ground near SE 60 Ave., south of the river bridge, and when he returned to where he had parked his silver 2005 GMC Sierra pickup it was gone. At last report, that vehicle had not been located.