Fears Continue Over Heights Arson

Houston police and fire officials continue the search for an alleged arsonist in the Heights area. As many as nine fires may have been set by one person. People in the community are fearful of how long this may continue and how much more damage could be done. Laurie Johnson has more.

Chris Silkwood is in her art studio on Winter Street, on the far southeast side of the Heights.

When she's not working on her art, she's working for the community as the president of the Houston Heights Association. She says the string of fires has the community on edge.

"This is obviously a person who has no value for property — the property of others. And who knows what their perspective is on humanity? So all in all it's a very frightful situation. And if that's part of the thrill that the individual is getting from it, that makes it even more horrific."

Silkwood has lived in the Heights for close to 30 years. She says this is the first time in her memory they've experienced something like this.

"We are realizing unfortunately an increase in crime. And sadly, I think our economic conditions are having something to do with that — people are becoming more desperate."

The community recently hired a full-time constable to patrol the east side of the Heights. They'd like to raise enough money to hire another one for the west side.

And regardless of officers on the streets, Silkwood says they're reminding area residents of one thing.

"Remain vigilant. To keep your eyes and ears open, to not ignore any potential sign of a problem, to report it immediately, to not be apathetic in any way and that's the best way for citizens to be involved."

HFD's arson unit is investigating eight fires set on Ashland street and a ninth suspected arson case on 11th street.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...