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96-year-old grandmother dead following 3 ‘apparent arsons’ near Polo, Missouri

Her family tells KCTV5 News she’d lived in the home since 1958
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 4:12 PM CDT
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CALDWELL COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) -- Authorities in Caldwell County are looking for the car connected to three arsons from Tuesday that left one person dead.

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office shared the photos on Facebook, saying they’re looking for a black SUV with dark tinted windows that was being driven by a black male.

Anyone with information is asked to call the office at 816-586-2681.

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POLO, Mo. (KCTV) - The authorities are investigating a string of apparent arsons near Polo, one of which took a 96-year-old grandmother’s life.

According to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, the first fire happened around 8:30 a.m. at a house near SW State Route D and SW Colt Drive in rural Polo. A body was found inside the house; that person’s identity has not been released by the authorities yet.

However, one of her daughters did speak to KCTV5 News with the blessing of her siblings and shared the following information about her in the hopes she will be remembered as more than “an elderly woman.”

Lorene Fickess would have turned 97 on June 11. She used a walker to get around, but took great pride in being able to take care of herself. Also, she made the best chicken and noodles for Christmas; everyone looked forward to it.

Fickess moved into the home in 1958 with her husband and five children. She had two more children after moving in.

She is now survived by her seven children, 18 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren. She’d held every one of them, except the youngest who was born a mere five days ago.

Her family is devastated, but her youngest daughter told KCTV5 that they had a wonderful Mother’s Day with all seven of her children, as well as several of the grandchildren.

Lorene Fickess, 96, died following an apparent arson at her home on Tuesday morning. Her family...
Lorene Fickess, 96, died following an apparent arson at her home on Tuesday morning. Her family said she moved into the home in back 1958 with her husband and children.(Provided to KCTV5 News)

Following the fire at Lorene Fickess’ home, deputies and firefighters dealt with two more house fires over the next two hours. Both happened along the same road and both houses impacted were vacant. One was at SW State Route D and SW Mirabile Drive. The other was at SW State Route D and State Route HH.

The investigation, which the State Fire Marshal’s Office is part of, is ongoing. However, the authorities say it appears that all three fires were set intentionally.

The sheriff’s office says a dark, 4-door, passenger vehicle that could have been a black Dodge Caliber was spotted near the scene of each fire. Investigators do not currently have its license plate information.

If you have any information that can help the authorities in their investigation, you are asked to call the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at 816-586-2681.

Firefighters from Polo, Cameron, Lathrop, Hamilton, Kingston, and Braymer worked to extinguish these fires today. The sheriff’s office wants to thank Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Cameron Police Department, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, the Ray County Sheriff’s Office, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.

This is one of the homes that caught fire. It is in the 5000 block of SSR-D in Polo, Missouri....
This is one of the homes that caught fire. It is in the 5000 block of SSR-D in Polo, Missouri. It is roughly between SW Ana Drive to the north and SW Colt Drive to the south.(KCTV5 News)
This is one of the homes that caught fire. This is in the 2900 block of SSR-D in Polo, just to...
This is one of the homes that caught fire. This is in the 2900 block of SSR-D in Polo, just to the southeast of where Broadway Drive ends in the east.(KCTV5 News)
This is one of the houses that caught fire. This one is located in the 1500 block of SSR-D in...
This is one of the houses that caught fire. This one is located in the 1500 block of SSR-D in what is technically Kingston, Missouri. It is near the intersection of SSR-D and SSR-HH.(KCTV5 News)