PICTURED: A Lincoln Zephyr was set on fire Wednesday about 10 p.m. on Cameron and Front street at A-1 Bowden Ford. PHOTO BY OFELIA GARCIA HUNTER

Fires reported in a one-mile stretch of town

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

The Alice Fire Department remained busy as they responded to five separate fires set in a one-mile stretch of town that began at 10 p.m. Wednesday, officials said.

"I think they are all related," Fire Chief Dean Van Nest said. "Someone is trying to burn Alice. All of the fires are suspicious."

The first fire began just after 10 p.m. and calls came in to the police department dispatch every three minutes for a total of six calls, one of which fire officials ruled out as part of the string of set fires.

The fires destroyed a $40,000 Lincoln Zephyr at A-1 Bowden Ford on Cameron and Front streets, a shed in another location, a dumpster fire, a brush fire in a neighborhood area and an old structure storage area that belonged to Entex, fire officials said.

The locations of the fires were within a one-mile stretch off of St. Mary's Street, Cameron and Front streets, Sain Drive and Woodlawn, next to Popeyes on Main Street and another on Sain Drive next to Edward's Furniture.

Fire fighters worked until midnight today to put out the fires. San Diego and Orange Grove volunteer fire departments, Alice police and the Jim Wells County sheriff's department assisted with the fires.

"It's a trend," Patrick Thomas, fire marshal, said about the late-night fires. "They are all intentionally set fires."

No injuries were reported on any of the fires, fire officials said.

Thomas said the fire marshal's office, along with the police crime investigation division, had several leads they are going to follow. Fire officials urge residents with any information about the fires to call Crime Stoppers of South Texas, Inc. at 664-STOP.

Tipsters can also log in at www.stxtipscom and fill out tip information through the Internet. Tipsters may be eligible for cash rewards up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and or indictment of the suspect or suspects. All calls remain anonymous.

"We will prosecute to the fullest," Van Nest said.