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$10,000 reward is being offered for info in arson cases

The owners of two homes and a barn that burned in one morning are offering a $10,000 reward to whoever gives information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist.

According to Kentucky State Police at Hazard, the fires occurred early on the morning of October 1 at Camp Fork.

M. Trooper Jody Sims, spokesman for KSP Post 13, said when the call came in at 6:53 that morning, the caller reported a house nearby was on fire. The dispatcher was unable to reach Colson Volunteer Fire Department with its paging system, and contacted Neon Volunteer Fire Department for mutual aid. When firefighters arrived at the scene off KY 1410 at Colson, there were actually two homes on fire as well as a barn near one of them.

Sims did not have the names of the persons involved, but said the properties belonged to family members of Shelby Nease, a former Kentucky State Police trooper who went on to work as a detective for the CSX Railroad Police. Nease was beaten to death in 1989 in Harlan County while investigating copper theft from railroad property in Harlan County.

The property had been the subject of a longstanding legal dispute over ownership of the one of the houses, other law enforcement sources said.

Detective Josh Huff at Post 13 has charge of the investigation.

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