Pregnant woman jumps from burning building

December 22, 2008 3:42:20 PM PST
Investigators say arson was behind an apartment fire that forced a pregnant girl to jump from her second floor window early Monday morning. In fact, there's been a rash of arson fires going back several months within a few blocks of the same area. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Residents in Gulfton area in southwest Houston are concerned. They're living in a corridor of arson that authorities say is only growing.

Resident Porferio Pineda didn't have much left -- just a few clothes and some food -- after an early morning fire destroyed everything else. Pineda jumped from a second story window to escape the flames. A woman who lives upstairs also jumped. Remarkably, both were not seriously injured. The woman is eight months pregnant.

The fire started around 5am and gutted the upstairs and downstairs apartments. Two other apartments suffered smoke and water damage. Authorities say it's remarkable no one was seriously injured in this fire.

But that could change, especially if the fires keep happening. This is the thirteenth fire to happen in three months in the Gulfton area. Since September, there have been 12 fires in and around the 6000 block of Bissonnet. All of the fires are within walking distance of each other, and all are the result of arson. Authorities say all also have one other eerie connection.

"We're looking at the 12, and we believe the information that we have does lead us to conclude that they were connected," explained Houston Fire Department Assistant Chief Omero Longoria.

Authorities aren't yet certain if the most recent fire is connected to the first 12. Investigators say they are following up on several leads as to who may be responsible for these incidents. If you have any information, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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