Homes under construction set ablaze near Porter

Investigators say a suspicious fire that destroyed one home under construction and damaged two others in the Riverwood section of the Oakhurst subdivision.

May 14, 2010 4:10:50 PM PDT
A suspicious fire that destroyed one home under construction and damaged two others in a Porter subdivision was intentionally set, according to an investigator with the Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office. It's an unsolved crime that has people in one neighborhood in Porter on edge.

The frame of one of the newly constructed homes was so badly damaged, it had to be torn down late Friday afternoon. While no one was hurt, the suspicious fire now has this otherwise quiet community on edge.

From the lush golf courses to the manicured front lawns, it's easy to see why homeowners are proud to call Riverwoods their very own slice of paradise.

"Really just love the area. Love the drive in and just the quietness of the neighborhood," said homeowner Damon Simpson.

But these days, life in this tight-knit community just outside Porter isn't as rosy as it seems. Residents told us they are troubled by a recent fire which destroyed this home under construction. All that's left are charred remains.

"We're a little nervous because there's more construction going on. Thank God there was no wind or anything," said one concerned neighbor.

The fire broke out around 2:40am Wednesday in the Riverwood section of the Oakhurst subdivision. A homeowner saw the flames, called 911, then ran across the street to warn his neighbors.

The home burned to the ground in less than 20 minutes. The two homes next door caught fire because the heat was so intense. One single family home suffered minor damage. No one was hurt. The homes under construction are being built by Lennar Homes.

What's more, investigators say someone intentionally set the fire and they believe it's the work of an arsonist.

"You're possibly dealing with accelerants, fuels that might have been put inside the house. You don't always know so you take those extra precautions," said Porter Fired Department Chief Jody Binnon.

To make matters worse, the heat from the flames was so intense, the homes on either side also caught fire. One which someone just bought suffered about $20,000 worth of damage.

On Friday, crews spent the day cleaning up.

"Right now, we're drying out the structure. After we're done, we're going to have guys come back and actually clean the walls, sponge all the soot off and deodorize the entire structure," said renovator Robert Gobel.

Two similar fires have been reported in nearby Kingwood over the past two months which leaves some to wonder if the fires are connected and the work of a serial arsonist.

"People just need something better to do. it just blows my mind. I don't know," said Simpson.

The Houston Fire Marshal's Office is now assisting Montgomery County with its investigation.


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