Authorities investigate weekend incident at area lake

By Jason E. Silvers
Fort Scott Tribune – May 6, 2014

Authorities are investigating an alleged bonfire that took place around 12:30 a.m. Sunday at a dam at Rock Creek Lake.

Local officials confirmed Monday that investigators with the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office and local fire investigators are looking into an alleged incident involving a bonfire that resulted in injuries to two individuals.

“Investigators with our department are looking into it; there are not a lot of details right now. There were a couple of injuries,” Fort Scott Fire Chief Paul Ballou said.

FSPD Chief Travis Shelton said there was a “gathering” of people at the scene of the alleged bonfire, which allegedly took place behind the dam at Rock Creek Lake, but he did not have a number, nor did he know why the bonfire took place. Shelton said “a couple of kids” were allegedly burned after gasoline was thrown on the fire. He said the FSPD has found “nothing criminal as of right now” and no arrests have been made.

Shelton said due to the ongoing investigation, he could not release names or ages of the two individuals who were burned in the alleged incident. Shelton said the two people injured were taken by personal vehicle to Mercy Hospital Fort Scott.

Ballou also said he was not sure how many individuals were at the scene and could not release names of people at the scene of the alleged bonfire, due to the ongoing investigation. He also said that at this point he is not sure of the reason for the bonfire.

Several agencies responded to the scene, including the Fort Scott Police Department, city and rural fire departments and the Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office.

Shelton said the location of the alleged incident fell on a line dividing city and county law enforcement jurisdiction.

“They (BCSO) responded with deputies; it was a joint response on that,” he said. “It was right on police and sheriff jurisdiction.”

Bourbon County Sheriff Bill Martin confirmed on Monday that an incident was being investigated and that the FSPD was handling the report.

“I think all agencies in the county were there, including rural fire departments,” Ballou said. “We’re all as a group taking a look at it to see what happened.”

Ballou said he was not sure of the extent of injuries of the individuals who were allegedly burned but did say they were hospitalized.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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