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HFD: 30 Fires May be Work of 1 Arsonist

Houston Chronicle

May 25, 2011

Arson investigators believe at least 30 intentionally set fires in southwest Houston dating to the beginning of last year may be the work of the same person or group of people, officials said Tuesday.

Almost all the fires occurred at apartment complexes or homes on the southwest side during the early morning hours. In all instances a flammable liquid such as gasoline was used to set the blazes leading investigators to believe the same individual or individuals are responsible, said Houston Fire Department Fire Marshal Richard Galvan.

Officials believe the first blaze occurred Jan. 27, 2010, at a home in the 10900 block of Triola and began noticing a pattern after the fifth blaze in April of last year.

Investigators have no suspects. “There have been numerous people that have been considered that have been ruled out throughout this,” said HFD Arson Deputy Chief Kevin Brolan.

Fire officials noted that many of the burned structures were occupied during the blazes. “We’re very concerned,” Galvan said.

He said the suspected arsonist or arsonists have become “bolder” moving from starting fires outside of buildings to inside structures.

Two blazes believed to be connected to the arson fires occurred within the past week. The first fire happened around 5:30 a.m. Saturday at an apartment complex in the 1000 block of Ripple Creek Drive. Firefighters rescued a woman and a child out of their second-story window. They were taken to a hospital for minor smoke inhalation.

On 1 a.m. Monday, firefighters responded to a blaze at an apartment complex in the 7200 block of Gessner where they found a fire in an exterior hallway of the building, officials said. No injuries were reported. Th e fire caused about $1,000 in damages.

Galvan said gasoline was used in the two blazes.

“The hardest part is motive because we don’t know what the motive is,” HFD Fire Chief Terry Garrison said. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

© 2009, YellowBrix, Inc.


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