Neighbors suspect arson in fire that damaged shed, home
Neighbors: Fire that damaged shed, home possibly linked to homeless people
People who live in a neighborhood near downtown where fire destroyed a storage shed and damaged a home suspect it may be connected to homeless people who they said frequent the shed.
Arson investigators were called to the scene of the fire -- located at the corner of North Alamo and East Grayson streets -- at 2 a.m. on Friday, but as of 10 a.m., had not released their findings.
Firefighters said the fire appeared to start outside the storage shed, then spread to a home next door.
At least one person inside the home had already made it outside safely by the time they arrived, firefighters said.
“It was ... maybe five minutes and the whole place had gone up,” said Rudy Herrera, hours later recalling what he witnessed.
Herrera was working at a bakery next door when he noticed the light from the fire.
He said his co-worker, Andrew Newell, dialed 911, then tried to take action on his own to put the fire out.
“He comes back here and grabs a fire extinguisher and I'm holding him back,” Herrera said. “I don’t know what he would’ve done with that.”
Herrera said the fire had already grown too large for a fire extinguisher to do much good.
He said even firefighters appeared to be struggling to get the upper hand.
At one point, when hot embers began raining down on the bakery’s parking lot, Herrera and Newell began to worry their business might be the next to burn.
"It was still red hot,” Herrera said. “One hit Andrew on his neck. One got me on my hand.”
In the end, only the storage shed and home sustained damage.
Firefighters called in the arson squad to investigate the cause of the fire.
Neighbors, meanwhile, speculated that it might be tied to homeless people who use the shed as a shelter.
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