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Mother, Daughter Among Five Arrested For Arson In Fort Worth

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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - The Fort Worth Fire Department Arson and Bomb Squad said five people, ages 17 to 39,  have been arrested for a series of car fires set in the Ryan Place neighborhood over the weekend.  Investigators say one of those arrested helped commit the arsons as her eight-year-old son watched on.  Fire investigators say tips from the public were crucial in making the arrests.

(credit: CBS 11 News)

(credit: CBS 11 News)

“Three of the arrests were the result of witness information,” said Chief Raymond Hill with the Arson and Bomb Squad.  “Two of the arrests were the results of interrogation. Both of the vehicles seen on the security cameras were confirmed to have participated in the arson fires.”

Investigators say surveillance images were crucial in tying the suspected arsonists to two cars seen fleeing the scene of the fires. Investigators say a mom and two of her children were in one of the vehicles involved in setting the fires.

“In one vehicle we had our oldest participant and she had, at the time, her eight year old son in the car,” said Investigator Brad Sims with the arson and bomb squad.

“She also had a daughter that was there that was 17 that was in the car with her,” Sims said. “The daughter’s boyfriend was in the car. And then in the other vehicle there was a girlfriend boyfriend combination.”

4 of 5 suspects arrested for arson in Fort Worth.  Carlos Zapata-Leyva, 19, Jose Zapata, 19, Daniel Perez, 18, Sonji Hernandez, 39 (clockwise from left to right).  One of the suspects, age 17, is not pictured.

Four of five suspects arrested for setting cars on fire in Fort Worth. Carlos Zapata-Leyva, 19, Jose Zapata, 19, Daniel Perez, 18, Sonji Hernandez, 39 (clockwise from left to right). One of the suspects, age 17, is not pictured.

Many worried the fires were set as part of a gang initiation.  Arson investigators say the motivation was not gang related, its harder to explain than that.

“The excitement of setting fires and the night getting out of hand,” Sims said.  “There’s not really any explanation that I can give you that I can understand.”

All five are charged with arson of a vehicle.  Investigators say all five live in the area where the fire were set.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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