Fire officials in Harker Heights suspect an arsonist is responsible for two fires that occurred at the same mobile home in less than a week.
The first fire was reported at 11 a.m. Aug. 17 at an uninhabited mobile home in the 110 block of East Ball Road. Neighbors said the home was condemned and that they saw crews starting to tear it down the day before the fire.
Investigators found the fire had multiple points of origin, Fire Chief Jack Collier said Tuesday at a news conference. Samples were taken and sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety lab in Austin.
“We’re awaiting results to determine if flammable liquids were used … we suspect gasoline,” Collier said.
Firefighters were called to a second fire at the same mobile home at 4:39 a.m. Tuesday. When emergency crews arrived, the entire structure was engulfed in flames.
“Some stuff had been removed from the property since Friday … but not much,” Collier said. “It is totally destroyed.”
No one was injured in either fire.
Another suspicious fire was reported at the same location in October 2009, according to the chief. That blaze occurred in a shed.
Officials are investigating a “person of interest” in the case but are not ruling out any suspects. Collier said the owners of the mobile home are cooperating with the investigation and were attempting to comply with the condemnation order when the fires occurred.
“I would like to point out that arson is a serious crime,” Collier said.
“It not only endangers those who commit the crime of arson, but it endangers the neighbors, the public … the firefighters and police officers who respond to the fire, so we take it very seriously. We’re not going to leave any stone unturned to find out who is responsible.”
Arson, a second-degree felony, is punishable by two to 25 years imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine.
Anyone with information about either fire can call the Harker Heights fire marshal at (254) 699-2688 or the police department at (254) 953-5400. A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist.