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      Firecrackers blamed for sparking two brush fires

      Northeast Missouri law enforcement officers are trying to track down an arsonist or two.

      Two brush fires happened within minutes of each other Friday afternoon in Adair County, and investigators believe they were started by a man throwing firecrackers out of the back of a pickup truck.

      The fires burned within a mile of each other near the intersection of Route D and Route O northwest of Novinger.

      They were set around 3:30 p.m. The one on Route D charred approximately two acres.

      The one on Route O blackened about an acre along the blacktop.

      Adair County Sheriff Robert Hardwick and his deputies were on the scene and scouring the area for the pickup believed to have been involved.

      Resident Raymond Hatcher, who lives not far from the fires, told KTVO a man in the back of a black pickup threw a firecracker not far from him as he got his mail.

      He said he doesnâ??t believe the man saw him before letting go of the lit firecracker.

      He heard the guy say, â??Oops,â?? as the firecracker hit the pavement and threw some small rocks in Hatcherâ??s direction.

      Hatcher said the firecracker started a small fire that he was able to stomp out.

      He told KTVO he wasnâ??t able to see who was driving the truck, whether it was a man or a woman.

      As of Friday night, the sheriff's office hadn't located that truck, but Hardwick said they are keeping an eye out for it.