New information about serial arsonist

May 24, 2011 3:13:27 PM PDT
We have new information about the serial arsonist who's targeting southwest Houston. He -- or she -- works in the middle of the night, and that's how investigators may finally catch them. A number of people have been questioned and considered suspects but have since been ruled out. Right now, one of the most difficult challenges for arson investigators is figuring out a motive.

Houston Fire Department Chief Terry Garrison said, "Those are getting more dangerous that we can see."

A troubling warning from Houston's fire chief about the string of arson fires that started more than a year ago, and the person or people setting them.

"This arsonist, whoever this person is or persons are, they do not care about the life of your family," Chief Garrison warned. "You need to take precautions yourself."

There have been nearly 30 fires over the past 17 months. Arson investigators believe they're all connected based on where they were started, the time of day and the fact that accelerants were used in all 30 incidents. The fear is that the motive may be about more than destroying property.

Chief Richard Galvan with the Houston Fire Marshal's Office said, "He's getting bolder, he's going indoors more. He's being more aggressive, so we're very concerned."

Two fires set over the weekend at different apartment complexes had the signature of other fires intentionally set at the entrances or exits of residential buildings. Arson investigators are piecing them all together in hopes of developing a better profile of the crimes.

They're also conducting surveillance under night cover in the west and southwest side neighborhoods where most of the fires have occurred. One shadowy figure was caught by a surveillance camera at one fire scene last May.

"They are going to get sloppy," Chief Galvan said. "Eventually he is going to speak to someone and we encourage that person or persons to come forward."

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