MADISON COUNTY, IL (KTVI) – Pricey construction equipment was torched in Madison County, and investigators are trying to figure out who did it.
Early Sunday morning, sheriff’s deputies got a call about the suspicious fires from someone who spotted the flames, driving down Lebanon Road in Troy. Now, $300,000 of equipment can’t be salvaged.
The construction equipment was being used for a road-widening project to make a dangerous intersection safer. Lebanon Road resident Janae Staley is glad the road will be improved: “I think it’ll cause a lot less accidents because it’s got that perpendicular, sharp curve.”
But now, Madison County Chief of Detectives Mike Dixon says that project will be delayed, because of arson. He explains, “The cabs of both pieces of equipment were engulfed in flames. One was an excavator, one was a backhoe. The belief at this point is that someone set these fires.”
Investigators don’t have any suspects yet, but Dixon says the contractor doesn’t have enemies, and residents seem to generally approve of the construction project. One theory involves the area’s history: Lebanon Road and the surrounding streets are known for teens cruising, partying and getting into trouble.
Dixon explains, “That potentially could be what this is: an individual or group of teens or single teen that simply went out there, committed an act of vandalism and does not realize the potential consequences of his acts.”
If that does end up being the case, Staley says she wouldn’t be surprised. She says, “I know my husband has seen and heard a lot of drunk drivers in the years that he’s been here, so it’s kinda sad.”
Once the arsonist or arsonists are caught, they’ll face more serious charges because the damaged equipment was so expensive. If you have any information, call police.