HOUSTON - A man was arrested after a fire at a northeast Harris County feed store killed several animals, investigators said.
Harris County Fire Marshal's Office Lt. Dean Hensley, said Ernesto Turrubiartes, 44, was found with a gas can early Friday morning. They said his clothes smelled of gasoline and he had been drinking.
He was arrested and charged with felony arson in connection with the fire at the Forragera Feed Store and Felix Radiator Shop on Beaumont Highway near Beltway 8.
When crews arrived Thursday around 9 p.m., the wood-framed building was fully involved.
They were able to rescue two dogs inside the store, but several pigeons and chickens in cages on the front porch perished in the flames.
Witnesses were vital to helping investigators find Turrubiartes, Hensley said. Those witnesses spotted him walking toward the store with a gas can and then driving off. Moments later, they saw the fire.
Fire investigators said Turrubiartes was fired from the radiator shop next door to the feed store. They said he actually set fire to the tire shop, but because of the proximity, the feed store also caught fire.
The feed store burned more quickly because it was made out of wood.
The fire did more than $75,000 in damage to the buildings, investigators said.
Turrubiartes has a prior criminal record which includes several arrests on driving while intoxicated charges.
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