State police are investigating a suspicious fire that roared through an empty barn in the town of Minden early this morning.
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said it received a 911 call around 5 a.m. for the fire and sent Fort Plain firefighters to the scene at 7145 Route 5S, between Airport and Sanders roads. The blaze destroyed the barn, which was the site where state police recently seized 51 dogs that had been living in cold and squalid conditions, many of them caked in their own feces, others with open sores and internal parasites. Another dog was found dead at the scene of the January raid.
Paul, Diane and Joseph Marriott were arrested on 52 counts of animal cruelty after the incident. The Marriotts own a pitbull breeding facility in town, and are scheduled to appear in Minden Town Court on Feb. 25.
The barn had been damaged by two earlier suspicious fires that occurred within hours of each other on Jan. 18 and 19.
The cause of the latest fire is under investigation. State police are getting help in their investigation from the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control.
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact state police at Fonda at 853-3742.