Bryan man accused of using fireworks to start several grass fires
Bryan fire investigators say if the fires had gone unnoticed by the public, they could have ended in a “catastrophic event.”
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - A Bryan businessman is accused of using fireworks to ignite least four grass fires in the city in the final week of June, according to the arrest documents obtained by KBTX.
William Garrett Spangler, 35, was arrested last Friday on four counts of arson and released on bonds totaling $60,000.
Police and fire officials say they used surveillance cameras from area homes and businesses near the fire sites to identify Spangler and his work van. In some of the videos, Spangler can be seen throwing a firework known as a “ground bloom flower” out the window of his van into dry areas of grass and brush. Those types of fireworks can spin and change colors and can emit very high heat, investigators said. The reports say a firework was recovered from each of the scenes that have been linked back to Spangler.
The arrest reports say Spangler set at least two fires on the late night of Tuesday, June 28. One in the area of Austin’s Colony Parkway and Bullinger Creek. The other was on Copperfield Drive near Boonville Road.
On Wednesday, June 29, investigators say Spangler used a firework to ignite the large fire that erupted along W. Villa Maria Road across from Midtown Park. That fire scorched bamboo and grass and sent flames soaring at least 45 feet into the air not far from several homes on Fairway Drive. The fire also damaged a nearby fence.
Hours later, just after midnight on Thursday, June 30, firefighters responded to a grass fire burning along Highway 6 near Harvey Mitchell Parkway. Investigators say surveillance video from a nearby business shows Spangler parking, turning off his headlines to the work van, and watching the fire burn.
Bryan fire investigators wrote in their reports that if the fires had gone unnoticed by the public, they could have ended in a “catastrophic event.”
When questioned about the fires, Spangler reportedly admitted to buying fireworks from a business in College Station. Inside his work van, police found several fireworks along with $1500 worth of legal and illegal fireworks stashed away in his home garage.
A motive isn’t clear but the reports said Spangler told investigators that he “buys anything that can be thrown on the ground and destroy stuff.”
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