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February 26, 2013

Suspect charged with arson

A wandering individual has been charged with one count of arson, in connection with a Friday afternoon house fire in Campbell.

“The Hunt County Office of Homeland Security has served the suspect with a warrant at the Hunt County Jail, charging him with arson under the Texas Penal Code,” Hunt County Homeland Security Director Richard Hill announced Monday afternoon.

The name of the suspect was not immediately released, pending his arraignment on the charge.

Hill said the warrant was related to an arson fire at 2055 South Patterson Street/ FM 513 in Campbell, which was reported shortly after 2:15 p.m. Friday.

Units from the Campbell, Cash, Cumby and Lone Oak fire departments fought the blaze, but the home was a total loss.

Witnesses reported seeing a white male with a backpack and wearing a black hoodie leaving the residence at the same time smoke was coming out of the front windows.

“The man was seen headed east from the house through a pasture,” Hill said. “He was detained by police about 1.2 miles east of the ongoing fire. The officers arrested the man for being in possession of dangerous drugs. During an interview with the suspected arsonist, it was learned he had entered the vacant house seeking shelter. The suspect helped himself to food left in the freezer. There was no heat in the house so the suspect lit a fire in a metal container he placed on the floor. He left the fire unattended when he went into another room. When he returned, he found fire had spread from the metal container to the wall and was spreading to the surrounding area. He left the house, making no effort to notify anyone of the fire in progress.”

Hill said the owner of the house was contacted. The owner did not know the suspect and had not given him, nor anyone else, permission to enter nor to stay at the house.

Arson is a second-degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.

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