Former fire chief accused of setting his estranged wife's home on fire


Mark Hebert remains in custody at the Brazoria County Jail. His family says he has a neurological disease that has caused him to do things he would never normally do.

Hebert, 52, was arrested early Sunday morning outside his own home in Angleton on Swift Street. Police say the former Angleton volunteer fire department chief was in his truck, parked in his driveway.

"He was sitting there at 2:45 in the morning. The house was on fire and he's watching the fire go," said Sgt. Quenton Rush with the Angleton Police Department.

The fire was burning in the living room of the home. Marks that appear to be soot were still visible on the home's front door Tuesday. Investigators say Hebert refused to get out of his truck and resisted officers when they forced him to.

Investigators say no one else was home at the time of the fire. Ultimately police arrested Hebert for not only resisting arrest but for allegedly making terroristic threats against his wife. They say he also is responsible for starting the fire.

Hebert's niece Lauren Edwards said tearfully, "I mean, he's a fireman! He wouldn't do this on a normal... I can't do this..."

Edwards says doctors believe Hebert has something called Pick's disease, which experts say is a rare, but progressive destruction of nerve cells in the brain which leads to dementia.

Edwards says Hebert fought this weekend with his wife and that she left him the day before the fire. It's unclear what exactly the couple was fighting about.

"If you see something, you think you know the whole truth, and sometimes it's just not it," Edwards said.

Hebert's bond is set at a total of $31,000. If convicted he could be sent to prison for up to 10 years.

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