Possible break in string of Heights arsons

November 17, 2009 2:10:29 PM PST
There's a possible break in the case of a series of fires in the Heights. Two people are being questioned about the case. Investigators say a 14th fire was set in the area Friday night. The series of fires, which have been concentrated around 11th Street and Ashland, has been going on since August, and people who live in the Heights want the arsonist caught.

The most recent fire happened around 11pm Friday. A small shed and a window were the only things that were scorched, but while small by comparison, it is raising big concerns for people living nearby.

"It just makes me worried for my family," said resident Lauro Arrellano. "One of these days, it might get really bad and they might actually kill somebody."

The Houston Fire Department confirms two people who were found near the fire have been taken in for questioning, but on Saturday, the lead ATF investigator in the case downplayed the significance.

"There may have been someone apprehended last night at the same time of these fires, I know nothing about that," said Rob Elder with the ATF. "To say that anyone was arrested in relation would not be accurate at this time."

What can't be denied, though, is that this is the 14th suspicious fire to hit the Heights area since August.

It's why several concerned residents joined Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee to hits streets Saturday urging residents to report anything suspicious.

"W hear a fire truck and say, 'Uh oh, what's on fire now?'" said resident Sharon Pendley. "We need to catch the guy and the more people involved and the more they show on TV, hopefully we'll get this person or people."

Authorities say they not ruling anything out, looking at possibly a lone arsonist, a group of people or even copycats.

"At this point, I'm not comfortable to say we have any of those or that we have all of those," said Elder.

The fires started in the empty half of a duplex on August 11. Two more fires were set at the same duplex later that week. Even after crews demolished the home, someone torched the rubble. The 12th fire also happened at that same duplex on October 2. Most of the fires have been on the same block of Ashland between 11th and 12 Streets.

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