Fire mystery continues at DeSoto apartments

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by SHON GABLES

WFAA

Posted on January 2, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 3 at 12:55 AM

Arson fires

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DeSOTO — Federal agents are on the lookout for a serial arsonist in DeSoto.

They've now targeted the the South Point apartments in the 1000 block of Pecan Crossing Street five times. The most recent fire happened just after 1 a.m. Sunday and is sparking fear among residents.

As the sun began to rise, so did the anger of tenants — mostly against management.

"They were supposed to have security, and we are not safe in our own homes," said a visibly upset Shirlene Watkins, who has lived at the complex for five-and-a-half years.

Over the past 30 days, someone set five fires at South Point — the most recent less than 24 hours ago.

"I wasn't asleep tonight, because I was afraid to go to sleep," Watkins said.

DeSoto Fire Marshal Michael Laws said a serial arsonist is on the loose. Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms were brought in to assist with the investigation.

"I've been here for 26 years, and this is the first time we've had something of this nature where we're having repeat fires over and over," Laws said.

George Elmer said his apartment has been targeted twice. The first time they came, they stole his personal items. This time, they burned all he had left. "You know, it's a crazy way to start the New Year off," he said."

Elmer and Watkins are inconvenienced and angry. Now they have with no place to call home.

"We have not heard anything from the apartment managers... nothing!" Watkins said. Nor has she seen the increased security allegedly promised by managers as well.

The American Red Cross is assisting residents affected by the fire. Management of South Point did not return calls from News 8.

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com

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