Bloomer, Wis. (WEAU) -- Ron Swoboda owns Swoboda Implement in Bloomer. He did not want to talk on camera, but told us what it has been like cleaning up after a fire at his business two weeks ago.
"They said about 15 minutes and we probably would have had a lot more damage than it was," he said.
That fire is one of six in Bloomer in the last month. Two of those fires have been declared arson, the others, including Ron's business, are still under investigation.
On Wednesday, the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office released the names of the two men who are suspected to be involved in the fires.
22-year-old Cody Burgess has already been charged with two counts of arson.
"There are other incidents we are questioning," said Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalcyzk.
He says they have other persons of interest who are not yet suspects. He sees more unfolding with the investigation.
Back on main street, the fires have been a big topic at Happy Hour Bar.
"They're all talking about some of the fires that have been set," owner Marty Loew said.
And news of the arrests is slowly starting to spread around town.
"I heard they made some arrests, not sure who it is though," he added.
And while the idea of six fires in one month is scary for a town of any size, Marty says it is something that has been in the back of his mind.
"You think about it I guess, but you don't really worry about it,"
UPDATE TO INVESTIGATION
On August 25th, 2012, Cody J. Burgess, 22 years of age, was taken into custody. Burgess has been charged with 3 counts of burglary and 2 counts of arson.
On August 28th, 2012, Cody J. Burgess was charged with arson to a dwelling for a fire having occurred on April 17, 2012 located at 18629 10th St, Bloomer.
On August 25th, 2012, Kory Boos was taken into custody as a result of this investigation. Boos was charged with 1 count of burglary as a result of this investigation.
Additional charges are expected to be filed as this investigation continues. The Bloomer Police Department, the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation are asking citizens with any information regarding these fires or individuals to contact the Bloomer Police Department, the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department or the Arson Hotline. Citizens calling the Arson Hotline can remain anonymous and eligible for a reward up to $5000.00.
The Bloomer Police Department, along with the Bloomer Fire Department, Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating a number of fires that have occurred recently in the City of Bloomer.
1. Cattle barn at the Bloomer Fairgrounds
August 1, 2012 at 1:34 AM
Determined to be arson
2. Applegate Insulation LLC, 600 Industrial Blvd.
600 Industrial Blvd. Bloomer
August 13, 2012 at 8:13 AM
Determined to be arson
3. Armour Bldg, 1544 12th Ave, Bloomer
August 12, 2012 at 3:21 AM
4. Dumpster fire at the Bloomer Fairgrounds
Reported on August 12, 2012 at 9:00 AM
5. Swoboda Implement, 919 Main St. Bloomer
August 14, 2012 at 12:56 AM
6. Boat Fire, Thompson St. Bloomer
August 23, 2012
Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department 715-726-7701
Bloomer Police Department 715-568-5924
Arson Hotline 1-800-362-3005
August 29, 2012
Sheriff James L Kowalczyk
BLOOMER, Wisc. (WEAU) - Five fires in two weeks have investigators busy in Bloomer, looking for a possible serial arsonist.
Alyssa Wiltrout and Natalie Erickson said they were at Alyssa's Bloomer home Tuesday morning, when they noticed something strange.
"We just thought it was a giant bonfire," Erickson said.
"We saw sparks and light in the sky. And there's five, six propane tanks, I tell (Natalie) to run, and it explodes behind us," Wiltrout said.
After calling a friend who called 911, the two said they watched as crews came to put out the flames at the Swoboda Implement shop. The owner said, empty oil barrels exploded under pressure, but work areas weren't damaged.
None of the five suspicious fires were at homes, but two are confirmed arson cases: a cattle barn at the fairgrounds and Applegate Insulation.
"We were extremely lucky here, all we got was a broken window and a few singed catalogs," Applegate plant manager Scott Hatten said.
The police chief said while he won't talk about possible suspects, investigators do have some leads.
"It's too coincidental for (all five fires) not to be linked," Hatten said.
Investigators said with so many unanswered questions, they're asking for the public's help to report any suspicious behavior.
With no suspects, many said they are concerned about the next possible target.
"I'm afraid of being trapped in a fire ... Everybody should be cautious because anybody is capable of anything," Wiltrout said.