Rice County Sheriff’s Office and the State Fire Marshal are investigating two early morning fires as arson.

The first occurred just before 1 a.m. Monday and destroyed four vehicles and a barn on 118th Street. The barn was mainly used as an animal shelter and housed a golf cart and grain equipment for making animal feed. No animals were killed. The second took place Tuesday morning around 2 a.m. Both were in Bridgewater Township, west of Dundas.

According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office, both cases involved vehicles which were parked next to out buildings in close proximity of occupied houses that were set on fire. The vehicles and out buildings were a total loss. At this time, no one has been injured due to the fires.

Windy conditions Monday morning and a small, narrow road softened by the spring thaw presented challenges for the large fire trucks arriving on scene, said Gerry Franek, chief of Northfield Area Fire and Rescue Service.

Windy conditions caused the fire to jump the road, start some trees on fire and ignite a nearby small barn, which was not destroyed. Rice County Sheriff’s deputies assisted on the scene, and water shuttles were provided from Faribault and Lonsdale Fire departments during the four hours emergency workers were on hand.

“We have been very fortunate that no loss of life has occurred and no fire personnel have been injured. If you have any information involving these cases, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 507-334-4391 and ask to speak with an investigator or deputy,” said Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn.

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