Starr Co. Authorities Investigate Possible Arson at 2 Buildi

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RIO GRANDE CITY – Starr County authorities are investigating two structure fires this weekend as possible arson cases.

The first fire was reported Sunday morning at 2:03 a.m. It damaged a former Ford dealership turned home accessory store on Garcia and Main.

At 6:28 a.m., while crews were fighting the blaze, a second fire was called in at a storage facility on the 600 block of North Texas.

Rio Grande City Assistant Police Chief Jose Solis said his department assisted the fire department with the investigation. He said both businesses involved in these fires have the same owner.

No injuries were reported in either of the fires. 

A woman who’s lived near Garcia Street for 27 years said she is grateful to be safe. Rogelia Lopez said she feared she or others were in danger.

"It has always been very peaceful. Just the traffic that goes through here," she told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Lopez said the fire woke her up early Sunday morning. It was a half a block away.

"It was very serious, very impressive. The fire was just too big and the flames were extremely high. It was a very strong fire," she said.

Lopez immediately made the decision to leave the house for her safety. She also thought about the safety of others.

"I went outside to call my neighbor and to tell her about the fire and to tell her that we were in danger. She came out to see the fire too," she said. “We were really scared because we were very close to it and the flames were extremely high. You could feel the extreme heat from the fire getting closer to us.”

Solis said Rio Grande City fire crews kept the fire from spreading into Lopez's property. He added Lopez played it smart by getting out of her house.

"Listen to any commands from law enforcement or fire department," warned Solis. "I know the officers during both of these fires were getting the neighbors to leave the location."

Solis added the investigation is focusing on the fact the two businesses set on fire had the same owner.

"We are going to look into any aspect, any and all motives that someone would want to burn somebody's building," he said.

Solis said no suspect has been named in the investigation on Monday afternoon. He added police investigators working on the arson case will follow orders from Rio Grande City's Fire Chief Ricardo Reyes.

Solis said if you have any information regarding this case, you can contact his department at 956-487-8892.


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