Weatherford Democrat

Local News

July 19, 2012

Boy may have caused fire, but no threat to public

PARKER COUNTY — Following several previous structure fires on a property in the 1100 block of Jeremiah Trail, a northeast Parker County family faced yet another set of challenges Monday when their home burned to the ground.

Officials believe a fire that destroyed the home Monday is likely related to past structure fires nearby in recent years.

Yet, Parker County Fire Marshal Shawn Scott stressed, he does not believe there is any threat to the public at large.

He believes the fire was caused by a mentally disabled 15-year-old living in the house, Scott said.

“We have been working to help get treatment and supervision for him,” Scott said.

Because of the child’s age and disability, the investigation has not been easy.

“We don’t know exactly how it started,” Scott said. “We presume playing with a lighter.”

All four members of the family, including the boy’s grandparents and great-grandmother, were home at the time Monday when the fire started shortly before 2 p.m. in the bedroom area. All safely escaped but lost everything.

The mobile home with additions had a common attic, where the fire spread quickly, blowing end to end by the time firefighters arrived, Scott said.

“This one is as complicated as they get,” Scott said of the investigation, adding that his ultimate goal is to make sure there is no danger to the public.

At least two other structure fires on the property are believed to have been caused by the juvenile in the past, as well as other fires that occurred at the residence that did not involve area fire departments.

The boy’s grandfather was transported to the hospital for minor injuries sustained while fighting a fire in a next door mobile home in January.

There were a couple possible scenarios in that case, including an electric space heater near loose laundry, according to Scott, who said that is why that investigation was not as heavily pursued as the Monday fire.  

MHMR concurred with the fire marshal’s assessment that the juvenile didn’t pose a threat to the safety of the public, according to Scott.

“The best we can do is assist the family in seeking treatment to help deal with the situation,” Scott said, adding that it was a tragic, life-altering situation for them.

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