Search continues for those who set Okla. fires

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The search for arsonists suspected of starting wildfires in central Oklahoma is ongoing, state and local authorities say, but with little success.

The state fire marshal is investigating several fires in Cleveland County earlier this month that are believed to have been deliberately set, including one that killed Linda Zoldoske, 67, who could not escape her rural Norman home when it burned.

In Oklahoma County, a reward for information leading to the person thought to have started a fire that destroyed dozens of homes in Luther is up to $11,100 after individuals and businesses pledged to donations to a fund established by the Oklahoma County sheriff's lodge of Fraternal Order of Police.

A witness reported seeing a man in a black Ford truck set the Luther fire.

"We've got a few tips here and there, and we are following up on every one of them," sheriff's spokesman Mark Myers told The Oklahoman. "But really it is not as many as we obviously need. We thought with that reward we would get a few more tips. But it's pretty vague information to go on."

Myers said investigating wildfires is difficult because there often isn't much physical evidence.

JoAnne Sellars, spokeswoman for the state fire marshal, added that finding arsonists is hard because the usual suspect information that investigators would get from a victim, a witness or surveillance video isn't available.

"They do it under the cloud of secrecy," Sellars said. "It's not like you go in front of somebody and hold a gun in their face and say `Give me your money.' The help from the public and eyewitnesses is paramount to a successful investigation."

Sellars said the fire marshal's "best agent" is looking into the Cleveland County fires, but there is nothing new to report.

Myers said Oklahoma County investigators also haven't found a suspect in the Luther case.

"The only way we are going to solve this crime is if somebody knows something and comes forward and lets us know," Myers said.

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