MINDEN, N.Y. – New York State Police at Fonda are investigating a suspicious barn fire in Montgomery County Saturday morning.
The fire occurred at 7145 State Route 5S, in the Town of Minden, and Lt. Mike Lair with State police confirmed that was the same address where over 50 dogs were seized by investigators last month.
"I've been trying to keep a watch out," said Russ Vanvalkenburg of Minden.
Vanvalkenburg has been keeping watch on the barn next door after a number of incidents occurred there over the past few weeks. In January more than 50 dogs were seized from the barn. The dog owners face animal cruelty charges.
"I've been in the barn I went in there because his dogs were over here. It was a very poor habitat for those dogs. It was sub zero weather and those dogs were chained up in a wide open barn," said Vanvalkenburg.
For Vanvalkenburg the barn watching wasn't over.
"I know people have been going in there taking things out of there also. I've been seeing people. I called the State Police yesterday they were here," said Vanvalkenburg.
State police have confirmed a nearby neighbor was doing just that, but the incident is still under investigation. Just hours later on Saturday morning the barn was on fire.
"The place was just completely orange out here it was just full blaze. Kids were going crazy. Alex was crying was worried about it," said Vanvalkenburg.
The fire began early Saturday morning around 5 A.M. New York State Police and the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control were on the scene. State Police do believe the fire is suspicious.
"Whoever it is they're doing it 3,4,5 o'clock in the morning but you can't stay up all night watching," said Vanvalkenburg.
There were no animals in the barn at the time of the fire and no injuries. State Police say the neighbor seen taking items from the barn is not a suspect in the fire.
"I think its got something to do with the kennel operation I believe," said Vanvalkenburg.
Police are not releasing any further details as the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information relevant to the fire is asked to contact the New York State Police at Fonda at 518-853-3742.
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