The latest two blazes occurred before sunup. The homes were not occupied. Capt. Beda Kent is with the Houston Fire Department. She says the recent incidents have been referred to the arson bureau.
“They’re not ruling out any possibilities at this time. They’re looking at every angle and additional information cannot be released, because of the ongoing investigations. But as soon as we do have details — and they are available — we will be distributing them.”
Before the latest fires, all the others had occurred along Ashland between 10th and 11th streets. The police and fire departments were still at the first fire on Herkimer and 12th, when the second one on 9th between Waverly and Ashland started.
Later, reporters were at the scene of the first fire which was heavily damaged. It also attracted curious residents who drove by, others came on their bicycles, or walking their dog.
“This is certainly too close for comfort.”
Ken says he didn’t hear the fire trucks come to put out this fire. His neighbor had to tell him.
“It’s almost like an act of terrorism. I don’t want to be dramatic about it, but this is something you know, terrorism is to keep people terrified and this sure really puts you on alert — to say the least.”
Sandra Graves says she slept through the effort to put the flames out:
“Honestly, I don’t understand, I guess, why we haven’t caught this person.”
She thinks whoever’s responsible is familiar with the neighborhood to know that the targeted dwellings are not occupied.
“It’s worrisome, you know, this house can catch the trees on fire, the next structures can catch on. I mean, even if you set it to something abandoned, you can’t contain a fire. So, it’s really scary.”
Dennis Miles grew up in the neighborhood and still has a lot of family living nearby. He says staying up at night might help catch the suspected arsonist.
“You know, if you see anything suspicious, just call the police, because anybody at that time of night that’s out, is obviously doing something wrong.”
PH: “Do you think an incident like this will serve to unite the neighborhood even more?”
Miles: “Right. Yes, a lot of our neighbors, we really don’t know each other, because it’s like, everybody’s doing their own thing. Something like this, you have to unite because it could be your house next.”
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that might lead to an arrest in connection with the fires in the Heights.
PH, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.