Texas Arson Hotline Awards Richardson Caller
A resident of Richardson, Texas who recognized a suspected arsonist from a television news report has been awarded a $500 check for his call that will lead to the arrests of three suspects in the fire of the Owens Sausage plant in Richardson on May 7. The suspects face charges of state jail felony reckless arson in Collin County.
Investigators say the suspects used an accelerant to set fire to furniture inside the abandoned factory. Firefighters from Richardson were called to battle the fire and although no firefighters were injured, one of the suspects apparently suffered burns to his arm. The fire destroyed a conference room and four offices inside the structure.
Fire investigators say a game camera set inside the two-story building captured photos of all three suspects. Lacking any leads in the case, Richardson Fire Investigator Walter Clifton turned to a Dallas TV station to air the photos of the suspects in hopes one of them might be identified. One phone call came in and two of the suspects were positively identified, which eventually lead to naming all three suspects.
“Without the assistance of our one phone call, we would have never discovered who set fire to the building,” said Clifton. “The cooperation of the public brought this case together.”
A Texas Advisory Council on Arson (ATAC) agreed to award the caller for his public service and closing the case.
The Texas Arson Hotline and reward program was created and is funded by ATAC, an advisory body for the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Callers can anonymously contact the Arson Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week to report suspected arsonists. Callers can receive up to $1,000 if their calls results in an arrest or conviction. The arson hotline phone number is 1-877- 4 FIRE 45.