Landlord believes fire intentionally set

January 4, 2008 12:28:45 PM PST
The search is on for the cause of an early morning house fire in southeast Houston. The landlord says two men he kicked out just hours before may be responsible.Investigators say by the time fire crews arrived on the scene, there was nothing they could do and the house was a complete and total loss.

As the early morning fire spread through the home on Southhurst at Crestmont, the thought that someone may have set it grew just as intense as the flames.

"I don't think it was an electrical fire. I'm thinking it's these two guys that I ran out of there (who) probably started it," said homeowner Thomas Guiterrez.

A nearby neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, said that six people live in the house. All of them made it out safely. The neighbor told Eyewitness News that earlier in the night there was an argument between some of the renters and some of their guests.

Guiterrez says after he kicked them out, the next thing he knew the house was on fire.

"It started from the outside, because it wasn't in the inside when it first started," said Guiterrez. "I could see it through the window and it was on the outside."

Neighbors say they wouldn't be surprised to learn the fire was intentionally set.

"Were there people in and out?" we asked neighbor Romona Palacio.

"Yes, all of the time and they would block the street and we can't pass," she said. "There was fighting a lot."

Palacio says since the original owner of the house died two years ago and left the house to his son, it has become the neighborhood's eyesore.

Investigators have not determined the exact cause of the fire.

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