Series of car fires in the Heights may mean arsonist is on the loose, neighbors say

Miya Shay Image
Friday, October 9, 2020
Multiple car fires in the Heights prompt investigation
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If that isn't scary enough, in one case, someone threw a Molotov cocktail at a driveway, watched it explode and simply walked away.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A series of fires that may have been intentionally set in the Greater Heights is raising an alarm among residents that there is at least one arsonist on the loose.

Around 3 a.m. on Thursday, Brendan Posterick heard his car alarm go off.

When he looked outside, he noticed his Toyota parked at the corner of 18th Street and Harvard was engulfed in flames. His girlfriend, Lauren Hale, quickly called 911.

"It was terrifying," said Hale. "I think I was shaking for probably the next four hours. I told him I was shaking to my core."

Video obtained by ABC13 shows flames shooting up at least 20 to 30 feet at one point.

Residents in the Heights have an unsettling reality on their hands: the possibility of an arsonist. The video shows one such incident caught on camera.

Francesco Congi's car also suffered some damage.

"It's a person or persons who are disturbed and they are looking for attention, unfortunately," said Congi.

As Posterick's car burned, firefighters had to respond to another car fire in the 800 block of W. 18th street.

In that case, only the back section of the car was burned. The two car fires are in addition to a trio of fires near TC Jester and W. 34th Street over the past two days.

In those cases, one car was set on fire and two sheds went up in flames.

Prior to that, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at two different driveways in the Lazybrook subdivision.

The fires, which caused no lasting damage, happened on Sunday, Oct. 4, in the 2100 and 2400 blocks of Brooktree.

Surveillance video captured at least one suspect on camera.

"A gentleman casually walked out of his vehicle," said nearby homeowner, Jessica Swoffard, who has seen the video. "He walked to the street, he dropped his Molotov cocktail in the driveway, watched it explode, and casually walked back to the vehicle and drove off."

Investigators with the Houston Fire Department would not confirm whether anyone has been arrested relating to all of these cases.

The department does say a number of fires have been set over the past few months in the Greater Heights region, including incidents they are unwilling to specify at this point.

Investigators were seen speaking to several homeowners and gathering surveillance video on Thursday.

Anyone with information on these incidents is urged to contact local law enforcement.

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