Arson Plagues Heart of Lubbock Neighborhood - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/23/08

Arson Plagues Heart of Lubbock Neighborhood

Arson strikes again in a neighborhood in the heart of Lubbock.  Around 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, a fire was set to a home on 24th Street and Avenue U. 

This is at least the 12th arson fire this year in the area between Broadway St. and 27th St. and Avenue Q to University Ave. Several of the fires that have happened in the neighborhood have been in boarded up vacant homes.  No one was living at 2011 24th St. at the time of the fire on Monday, but it was a rental house and people had just moved out in May.

Garett Nelson with the Lubbock Fire Marshal's Office says that amount of fires is alarming. "It's certainly a lot for that area. I went back a few years just to see if we have always had that many fires to see where we were at and that's a dramatic rise obviously, which we knew - we could sense that," he said. 

All these arsons are in the same neighborhood and the house is always vacant, but does Nelson think the same people are responsible for all 12 fires? "To be able to say that the fires are related anymore than just area and status of the property, I think would be erroneous," said Nelson.

No arrests have been made in any of the arsons. Fire investigators have their eye on some suspects to solve one of the fires, but lack of information has not led them to solve any others. "We've had very few descriptions of people.  That's highly unusual for that many fires to not have anyone see something," said Nelson. 

Eddie Gutierrez lives in the neighborhood next to some vacant houses and says he is fearful they will strike next door. "I mean having empty lots or empty houses you know there is a lot of people that want to go in there. I mean just to check it out, what's going on or what's in there," said Gutierrez.                  

The Heart of Lubbock Neighborhood Association is offering a $1000 reward for anyone who comes forward with any information. "This is something that is a concern for all of Lubbock but certainly for those of us who live in this area, and we want to make it very clear to the individuals responsible that the neighborhood is very concerned with this and is doing everything we can to prevent this type of activity continuing," said President of the Heart of Lubbock Association Greg Bruce. 

If you have any information on the arson fires you are asked to call the Lubbock Fire Marshal's Office at 775-2646 or Crime Line at 741-1000.

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