Investigator deems fires ‘suspicious’

Two structure fires on successive nights last week within the Brady city limits are being ruled suspicious by McCulloch County fire investigator Suzanne Price. The first fire, which was reported at 1:59 a.m. on July 19, completely destroyed what appeared to be an uninhabited storage facility located at the intersection of Beck and Ruby Streets off of Old Mason Road. According to Price, three male juveniles who lived nearby were questioned in connection with the incident. At 1:58 a.m. on July 20, another report of a structure fire was called into dispatchers. This fire on East Second Street was also uninhabited. Eyewitnesses claim to have seen a medium sized sport utility vehicle with three individuals in it park near the scene. Several minutes later, the witness claims to have seen the individuals running back to their vehicle before leaving the area. After the fire was extinguished, Price eliminated accidental ignition sources such as faulty electrical wiring or such, and ruled the incident suspicious as well. “What a lot of people don’t know is that arson is a felony offense,” said Price. “If someone burns something that is not theirs, that is considered arson. It doesn’t matter if it is grass, a building or some other structure. If you burn it, it is arson.” The penalty for an arson conviction with no injuries involved is an automatic second degree felony punishable by a jail term of not less than two years or more than 20 years as well as up to a $10,000 fine. If anyone is injured in a fire that was determined to be arson, including fire department personnel, the penalty stiffens to a first degree felony punishable by a jail term of no less than five years and no more than life in addition to up to a $10,000 fine.

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