Fire marshal investigating ‘suspicious' fires in neighborhood

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HARRIS COUNTY - There have been three fires in northeast Harris County in less than two weeks and fire investigators are calling them "suspicious." Buildings are being torched in Kingslake Forest, and investigators say they could possibly be the work on a serial arsonist.

The most recent fire happened earlier this week. A neighbor spotted it early that morning, so the fire didn't have time to spread throughout the house.

But on Sunday, another house was gutted by a fire that wasn't spotted in time. And last week, an old leasing office was destroyed.

The buildings were all vacant and in the same neighborhood. Investigators believe the fires could have been intentionally set.

"They're all within about a half-mile radius so it appears somebody on foot is going into these buildings and setting a fire. At this point there's no indication they're using any type of accelerant, they're just using materials at hand," said Scott Schoonover, investigator with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.

Rodney Washington lives across the street from the house that burned on Sunday.

He is hoping the suspicion of it being the work of an arsonist is not true, fearing he could be a victim.

"It don't take nothing but a match and some gas to even set a house that's occupied," Washington said.
Fire marshals questioned a homeless man seen coming out of one of the houses this week. He allegedly admitted to stealing copper wiring, but isn't considered a suspect in the arsons.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest. Tips can be called in anonymously to 713-222-TIPS.

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