The burning question surrounding the circumstances of fires to houses under construction is “are the fires the result of a serial arsonist?”
Local, county and state fire officials are cautious about the use of the term arson, but the Harker Heights Fire Marshal’s Office and the Bell County Fire Marshal’s Office admit they are seeking information from the public.
In a news release sent by Harker Heights Assistant City Manager Jerry Bark, the two fire agencies are seeking assistance in identifying a “suspect or suspects” involved in the series of fires that began Aug. 17 in Nolanville.
Both the Bell County Fire Marshal, Chris Mahlstedt, and the Harker Heights Fire Marshal, Brad Alley, said Thursday that all five of the fires are still being investigated and a cause has not been determined for any of them. Mahlstedt said he wants to make sure that any and all accidental causes are eliminated before ruling the fires arson.
The latest fire happened Tuesday evening around 7:30 p.m. in the same block as the first fire — the 2100 block of Mercer Street in Nolanville.
Four agencies are assisting the Bell County Fire Marshal’s Office in the investigation of the latest blaze.
The agencies are the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Harker Heights Fire Marshal’s Office, the Harker Heights Police Department and the Killeen Fire Marshal’s Office, Malstedt said in a news release.
Gardner Selby, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Insurance, confirmed that the State Fire Marshal’s Office is assisting with the investigation of all five fires.
“No investigation is complete, no conclusions have been reached,” Selby said via email Thursday.
The dates and locations of the fires so far are:
- Aug. 17 in the 2100 block of Mercer Street in Nolanville
- Aug. 24 in the 1900 block of High Ridge Trail in Harker Heights
- Aug. 31 in the 1300 block of Torino Street in Harker Heights
- Oct. 11 near the intersection of Cedar Knob and Torino Street in Harker Heights
- Nov. 3 in the 2100 block of Mercer Street in Nolanville
Anyone with information on the fires can contact Bell County Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477) or by going online at www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com.
Anonymous tips can be made at the P3Tips app for mobile devices.