Investigators Close To Naming Arson Suspect(s)

 Investigators Close To Naming Arson Suspect(s)

POSTED: Thursday, July 7, 2011 - 5:13pm

UPDATED: Thursday, July 7, 2011 - 6:34pm

EL PASO COUNTY - When it comes to arson, your home could be next. That's why fire investigators in El Paso County are looking closely at about five fires they say are suspicious.

Socorro City Spokesman David Garcia says at least three fires have been ruled arson in his city, and more than one person may be responsible.

"We have been developing the case. The case has progressed. As I said, we've now identified some people of interest who could actually become suspects," Garcia said.

Garcia says the fires happened around the same time and in the same area, but he couldn't tell us what exactly links the fires together.

"There are some things that only two people know, the investigator and the people who may have been involved in setting the fire. The more we share, the more we open ourselves up for copy cats, the more we open ourselves up to possible setting up the defense for the people we want to investigate," he said.

The arson problem isn't new. A serial arsonist torched several vacant homes and homes under construction in far east El Paso last summer. Today we learned the suspected arsonist in that case moved out of Texas shortly after the fires.

Most recently Leonel Chavira and Cipriano De La Torre were charged with arson. Investigators say they started what is now a 5-million dollar fire in Horizon while burning trash.

"If you are reckless with fire and it gets away from you and damages somebody else's property then you can be charged with arson," El Paso County Fire Marshal Steve Hoeller said.

Hoeller says eventually most arsonist will be held responsible for their crimes.

"There are a lot of signs that they don't realize they're leaving behind, and we happen to be looking for those," he said.

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