Homeowner believes arsonist targeting his home

October 13, 2009 9:49:33 AM PDT
A northwest Houston homeowner believes he is being targeted by an arsonist.His home on Morrow at Rosie was set on fire this morning. This is the second fire at this home since Sunday.

Robert Runnels removed the burned out furniture from his house a day after his house was set on fire. But this morning it happened again.

Passersby spotted it first around 7 o'clock this morning.

"We walked down there, didn't see any smoke, but once we got to Wesley Elementary we seen the smoke coming up," said eyewitness Ronnie Hubbard.

Flames ate away at Robert Runnels' northwest Houston home fast. Hours after he finished boarding it up.

"I was here til midnight sitting in the driveway," he said.

Runnels left to stay with a friend for the night and returned this morning to a charred home, again.

"This house had a fire in it a couple days ago also that was ruled arson and when we arrived here today it was on fire again," said Chief Kevin Carly with the Houston Fire Department

The 17-year Army veteran and Civic Club president moved here to his grandmother's house, to care for her. He hosted National Night out in his front yard last week and since then says he's been the victim of a string of crimes, including break-ins and two fires.

"They set two beds on fire and left," said Runnels.

Runnel says Sunday night's fire caused minimal damage. Compared to what he's left with now, virtually nothing. He believes he's being targeted for trying to clean up the drug and crime problems plaguing his neighborhood.

"It's probably somebody that is probably upset because they were doing something wrong and they feel they're on the verge of being caught," he said.

That is the hope for Runnel's neighbors too, like Ronnie Hubbard, who lives down the street with four young children.

Arson investigators are on this case. Runnels says he does have surveillance cameras that he put up for his grandmother's safety but the surveillance tape was stolen in Sunday night's break in.

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