EXPLAINER: 16 News Now Investigates local barn fires

After months of investigations into at least a dozen barns burned, there may finally be a break...
After months of investigations into at least a dozen barns burned, there may finally be a break in the case… something the agricultural community in Michiana has been praying for.(WNDU)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 12:01 PM EST
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(WNDU) - In July, 16 News Now Investigates looked into seven barns that went up in flames across three counties this past spring. Those were deemed suspicious, with the State Fire Marshal’s Office investigating.

Then, less than two weeks ago, investigative reporter Carli Luca shared the stories of seven more barn fires, this time being investigated as arson.

After months of investigations into at least a dozen barns burned, there may finally be a break in the case… something the agricultural community in Michiana has been praying for.

Joseph Hershberger, 41, of Nappanee has been taken into custody in Elkhart County on a preliminary charge of felony arson. But it is unknown at this time if he is charged in connection to all eight of the fires being investigated in Elkhart County... or if he has any ties to the barn burnings across three other Michiana counties.

The blazes had not only a financial impact on the local farming community, but many of the barns targeted by the arsonist had been standing for over 100 years—causing families to lose decades of cherished memories.

Barn fires featured in first investigative piece that aired July 8: 16 News Now Investigates: Barn Burnings

  • April 13 - 69000 block of County Road 13, Elkhart County
  • April 27 - 4000 block of W 1250 N, Kosciusko County
  • April 27 - 70000 block of County Road 29, Elkhart County
  • May 3 - 61000 block of County Road 1, Elkhart County
  • May 4 - 63000 block of Ash Road, St. Joseph County
  • June 10 - W 1300 N and N 700 W, Kosciusko County
  • June 10 - W 1150 N and W Moore Road, Kosciusko County

Barn fires featured in second investigative piece that aired Nov. 18: 16 News Now Investigates: Who’s Burning Our Barns?

  • Sept. 9 - Beech and Tyler Roads, Marshall County (3 separate barns)
  • Sept. 18 - 25000 block of County Road 38, Elkhart County
  • Sept. 19 - 62000 block of County Road 9, Elkhart County
  • Oct. 1 - 72000 block of County Road 43, Elkhart County
  • Oct. 1 - 13000 block of County Road 48, Elkhart County

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