Livestock auction barn destroyed by arson

Livestock auction barn destroyed by arson
By: Carly O'Keefe

MURPYHSBORO, Ill. - Saturday morning David Canning looked at what is left of the business his father started in 1959. "There's a lot of history there for the surrounding area-for a lot of years," said Canning.

Gutted by fire, the Jackson County Livestock Auction Barn is now a total loss. "They called me at about 7:30 this morning, and I got here within 10 minutes, and it was totally engulfed in, it went pretty quick," said Canning.

Fire officials say the fire was the work of an arsonist. Police arrested 21-year-old Michael Etherton in connection with the crime. "They said they did track him down in the snow. They've got him," said Canning.

This wasn't the first fire in the immediate area authorities believe to have been intentionally set. Since summer, there have been four other suspicious fires in Murphysboro's Harrison area. "We've had a pattern here recently, since about last June basically of fires in this area of Harrison, north of Murphysboro that have been unexplained, and hopefully if it turns out that the person that they do have in custody is the person responsible, hopefully we can all sleep a little easier," said Murphysboro Pomona Somerset Township Fire Chief Bill Bateman.

A suspect in custody gives little comfort to Canning who's seen a part of his family history completely destroyed. "It hurts, but at least nobody got hurt," Canning said.

Canning says he'll likely rebuild the Jackson County Livestock Auction Barn and keep his family business going.