FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Vacant homes on Fort Worth’s southeast side have been burning this spring at the rate of more than one a week. A fire spokesman called it a common issue, but the fire department said Friday it will take steps to curb the problem.
The department said 15 structure fires have been investigated since April. All of them are in city council districts five and eight. With few witnesses, and little evidence, most have been classified as accidental or undetermined. At least two fires though from Monday, were arson.
While the fires are burning in vacant, often unsecured homes, damage has been spreading to other structures. The siding melted off a home on Avenue H when the home next door burned Monday. On Avenue N, a fire three weeks ago spread to the roof of New Beginning Church. Pastor T.L Cook said it did $26,000 damage to the roof and ceiling.
“And we have actually been trying to get that house, torn down,” he said. “Because before this happened someone came and took the electric, stole the air conditioner.”
There is no shortage of empty homes in the neighborhood. Resident Kevin Emerson lives between two of them. One partially burned this spring.
“It’s real scary, especially with all our kids around,” he said. “If our house went up God knows where we’re going to go.”
Several residents said there is speculation kids are involved in the fires.
The fire department said there is no definitive connection between the fires. However, it is preparing presentations for neighborhood associations, working with code compliance to identify vacant buildings, and asking the police department to watch for activity around vacant structures.