Fire destroys four structures in NE Houston

HOUSTON A big chunk of Market Street near Bayou is in shambles. Investigators spent several hours checking to see if there is a victim in the charred buildings, but by Friday evening, decided that there wasn't.

Earlier, bulldozers carefully removed debris, searching for the possible victim. Meanwhile across the street, Artomese Wells hung onto her hope.

"I hope they don't find anybody," she said.

Wells, who captured the flames on her cell phone camera, knows the property inside and out, especially those who she says would often frequent it.

"Just homeless folks, they don't have anywhere to go," she said. "They just go there, lay down and come on out."

The blaze started around 1am Friday, quickly spreading through six vacant structures. The fire was so intense that it caused four separate gas leaks, which made battling the blaze a challenge.

Nearby residents who were up at that hour could only watch in disbelief.

"I came up, and I was just amazed by the flames," said neighbor Robert Jenkins. "We couldn't even stand right here, it was so hot."

Investigators have since ruled the blaze arson, saying a strong scent of gasoline was detected on the scene.

The fire adds to a growing list of suspicious blazes in the area. One woman who didn't want to be identified says she thinks she knows who might be causing these fires and why.

"I think the fires are being caused by chemically dependent people, who are trying to remain warm," she said.

Investigators say they're looking into the possibility that this fire is connected to the others in the area, but at this point, there's no indication that's the case. They say they have no suspects and are asking any witnesses to contact police.

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