Person of interest sought after Bellaire pool fire being called 'suspicious'

July 30, 2013 3:22:30 PM PDT
Bellaire residents are in disbelief after two suspicious fires at neighborhood pools in their community. One of those suspicious fires broke out at a pool near the Bellaire police station.

It was a relatively small fire but it's the second pool fire in six months, and that's causing some concern.

Summer time at the Bellaire Aquatic Center should be focused on fun. Instead, staff with the city of Bellaire are trying to fix damage caused by a fire set in the pool trash cans.

"Sad, really sad, especially since we're paying taxes. We should have cameras," concerned parent Michelle Felch said.

There are no cameras here at the aquatic center, but there are cameras at the nearby police station. And around 1:45am July 23, it captured an image of a person on a bicycle riding by. Bellaire fire officials are calling him a person of interest but they're not quite ready to call this fire arson just yet.

"We did take some samples of the fire that we sent off, that was just mailed out yesterday so I don't know what they're going to bring back," Bellaire Fire Assistant Chief Alton Moses said.

But this isn't the first fire to hit a Bellaire pool. On February 20, the nearby Evergreen Pool was also hit, causing $100,000 in damage to the pool office.

"It pretty much gutted the inside of that room, and that caused them to close that structure off," Moses said.

Arson investigators also have not pinpointed a cause of that fire. But with the surveillance video and two fires in six months, they are calling both suspicious and hoping the public can help.

"A lot of people do workouts at 4:30 in the morning here. So, it's very concerning actually, it's making me a little more aware," Felch said.

Investigators believe the person of interest left two notes -- one at the pool and another at a police car, talking about legalizing marijuana. They're not sure whether those notes have anything to do with the fires.

Residents who spot suspicious activity are being urged to call police.

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