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Victim of Caldwell County arson remembered as loving matriarch

Lorene Fickess
Posted at 5:09 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 18:22:29-04

CALDWELL COUNTY, Mo. — A 96-year-old woman killed in a house fire is being remembered by loved ones as a woman who loved her family and cherished life.

The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office identified Lorene Fickess as the victim of a fatal fire Tuesday morning.

The victim's youngest daughter told KSHB 41 News the 96-year-old was a grandmother to 18 children, 39 great-grandchildren and seven great, great-grandchildren.

Fickess' daughter said Lorene enjoyed bird watching and loved hosting Christmas gatherings that would hold up to 80 family members.

In addition to the deadly arson that claimed Fickess, authorities responded to two other house fires, later described as vacant.

Caldwell County Sheriff Mitchell Allen said all three house fires are "definitely" arson.

“When the second fire occurred, I don’t think it took Sherlock Holmes to figure out that these are probably connected. And when the third fire came out, they definitely are connected," Allen said.

With an apparent firebug on the loose, patrols have been stepped up.

“We’re working overtime patrolling as well as the highway patrol has shown a big presence in the county right now," he said. "And the surrounding counties are also patrolling their part of the counties that join ours. So, there are a lot of police in the area."

Allen said people in the community are on edge. One resident who didn't want to be identified said in a rural community, everyone has to look out for each other.

“The neighbors talk. They keep track, and it’s very important because the neighbor is all you got out in rural areas,” said the concerned resident.

The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office is looking for a dark four-door SUV with tinted windows that was spotted near the scene of the reported arsons. Anyone with information should call the sheriff's office at 816-586-2681.