TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Investigators on both sides of the state line in Texarkana are looking into a series of fires in the downtown area over the past few weeks.
Three of the four fires over the past three weeks in the area have happened within the past several days. Officials say the average is ten fires a month. So far, there have been nine in the past month. Some were in abandoned buildings. One fire started at a popular local restaurant, TLC Burger, that now has a “closed” sign on the door.
“It’s not common, but it has happened before,” said Texarkana, Texas Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Chris Black. “We’ll have one or two. Then we’ll have a string of them. You know, sometimes coincidences, sometimes not.”
Investigators are looking into the possibility that homeless people could be behind the fires in some of the abandoned buildings.
“We do believe that it was a human intervention that caused the fire. Whether it was maliciously set to burn the building down, or, you know, the homeless population is always looking for places to stay inside. They could’ve had a candle or maybe cooking something,” said Black.
Texarkana, Texas resident and business owner Arthur Lindley says his family has owned one of the buildings destroyed in the recent fires since 1993. It was a furniture store. Although it wasn’t open for business, Lindley says he’s devastated.
“They called us and told us that somebody set it on fire,” said Lindley.
Lindley says neighbors and surrounding businesses told him they saw a few homeless people wandering around his property shortly before the fire started.
“But, it’s ridiculous for people to destroy other people’s property,” said Lindley.
The fire department encourages anyone with information to report it to the department immediately.
“I know everybody assumes we got a firebug or somebody running around setting all of them. But at this time, we have no information alluding to a single person setting any or all of these fires,” said Black.
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