Investigators Forming Brazos Valley Arson Task Force

By: Stephanie Ando Email
By: Stephanie Ando Email

Fire marshals across the Brazos Valley are dealing with a similar issue: too many cases and not enough people to work them.

That's one reason why investigators from several counties have come together to create an Arson Task Force.

"We've posted 24 arson cases this year and it's June. I can remember a couple years back, we had a few more than 24 for the whole year," said Investigator William Bouse of the Bryan Fire Marshal's Office.

Just this month, three people have been charged with arson. Police have identified the suspects as Lakeith Mason, Faye Sweeps and Barry Williams II. Fire marshals say there are also arrest warrants out for 24-year-old William Shields and 19-year-old Rick Edwards.

Fire marshals say its vital for investigators from different agencies to share information.

"The potential is great for an arsonist to be working doing something wrong in Navasota, while he's doing something wrong up here," said Bouse.

That's why the Fire Marshal in Navasota had the idea of creating the Brazos Valley Arson Task Force.

"Basically it brings all the entities together that are going to be investigating a large fire together before the fire," said Richard Caples, Navasota Fire Marshal.

The first meeting was in January, and organizers say the task force will allow investigators from different agencies to regularly train and work together.

"When you need a little bit of extra help, you may not have it unless you have connections to other agencies nearby who can help out," said Bouse.

Organizers invite all fire investigators in the Brazos Valley to join the Task Force.

In addition to Bryan and Navasota, investigators from Brenham, College Station, Brazos County, ATF in Houston, and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service are already part of the Arson Task Force. Representatives from the state fire marshals office have also been at the local meetings.

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