Arrest made in arson fire that killed several animals at NE Harris Co. feed store

February 1, 2013 10:10:18 AM PST
Investigators caught a suspected arsonist who they believe torched two businesses in northeast Harris County.

The owner of Felix Radiator Shop, which is attached to the Forragera Feed Store in the 13100 block of Beaumont Highway near Royalwood, says the suspect used to help out around the shop, and even slept there. But he says he thought the two parted ways on good terms.

Felix Escovedo arrived at his shop Friday morning to check on the damage and found things mostly intact. The feed store next to him, though, was a different story.

"I don't know what he was thinking, to do like this, you know?" said Escovedo.

He says the man arson investigators think started the fire, Ernesto Turrubiartes, used to pay him rent to stay at the shop. Witnesses told police they saw Turrubiartes at the shop again late Thursday night.

"At the fire scene, we had three witnesses who came forward who actually witnessed the suspect park his car and carry a red gas can toward the building that was burned tonight," said Lt. Dean Hensley with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.

Investigators arrested Turrubiartes early Friday morning at an east Houston auto shop.

"He was sleeping. He appears to have been intoxicated tonight, so I don't think he realized we were coming after him," Lt. Hensley said.

The fire did extensive damage to the feed store. A dog, several pigeons and several chickens were killed in the blaze. The feed store also carries larger animals such as horses, but they are kept in another part of the store and were unharmed.

Turrubiartes, 43, was taken to the Harris County Jail and is facing arson charges.

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