Officials fear more arson cases

By Darrell Todd Maurina

Clovis fire and police officials believe two recent structure fires in abandoned buildings were arson and the fire chief said he fears more arson cases will hit Clovis soon.
Firefighters found houses at 708 W. Eighth St. and 820-1/2 Jones St. fully engulfed upon arrival early Friday and late Saturday, Fire Chief Ron Edwards said. Both were wood frame structures that had been abandoned for a long time, Edwards said.
“The one on West Eighth was definitely arson. There were no utilities or any other reason for the fire to start. Two rooms were damaged but we were able to get it out,” Edwards said. “(The Jones house) did appear to be arson but we don’t have a full narrative report yet.
“It would be unusual to have two arsons in two days; I think we’re getting a lot of activity now in vacant structures,” Edwards said. “I do believe it will continue to climb. The city of Roswell has had a lot of problems with arsons over the past year; they’ve attributed most of their cases to gang activity.”
Edwards said parents need to make sure children don’t try to get inside abandoned buildings. “If parents could make sure their children stay away it sure would alleviate a lot of problems,” Edwards said.
Edwards said both houses were worth about $10,000. Friday’s fire did about $5,000 damage and the Saturday fire did about $2,500.