Llano County deputies are looking for the public's help in finding those responsible for starting a string of dangerous fires.
The series of fires began in late afternoon on June 25, as firefighters were called out to the scene of a half-finished Seton Clinic in Kingsland. The destruction delayed the opening of a much-needed health facility in a town of 5,400 residents.
The sheriff's department said on the day the fire was started on the clinics' construction site, two more brush fires were called in. Three weeks later there were four fires reported in one day.
One of the four fires struck next door to a family's home. The owner and his family were OK but it could have turned out very badly.
"One in particular was where an unoccupied house was burned and it caught on fire," said Llano County Sheriff Bill Blackburn. "It caught the house next door that was occupied -- it caught part of it on fire."
On that same day, the arsonist struck another vacant home on FM1431, and down the street a storage building also caught fire -- way too much of a coincidence considering the small town usually has only about two or three fires in an entire year.
"We've had between 13, 16 fires that are of questionable origin," added Blackburn. "We feel like -- we can't say that all of them are -- but we feel like they're the result of arson."
Several other fires, including more structures, brush fires and wood piles, have all occurred within a half-mile radius. Cops say they've got some good leads but they need just a little more information to get closer to an arrest.
Blackburn said this arsonist has to be caught soon.
"We're just afraid that these are going to escalate into not just property damage but human damage," he said.
Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call Hill Country Area Crime Stoppers at 1-866-756-TIPS. There is a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the offenders.
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