SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — A deadly San Marcos apartment fire that killed five people in July was intentionally set, officials say. On Friday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the San Marcos Fire Department announced that there is now a criminal investigation and there will be a $10,000 reward for information “leading to the arrest and/or conviction of the person(s) responsible.”
The fire has been classified as “incendiary,” which means someone set it, according to Fred Milanowski, the special agent in charge of the ATF’s Houston Field Division.
“Investigators here know where it was set, and they know how it was set,” Milanowski said in Friday’s press conference.
No one has been arrested, yet. And Milanowski said as long as the fire is still under investigation, most of the details about what detectives have learned won’t be released.
The fire spread to multiple buildings in the Iconic Village apartment complex on July 20. All of the people who died were in the same building. At least seven people were hurt, some when they jumped from their apartments.
At the end of July, investigators said they determined where the fire started but did not elaborate. They interviewed more than 100 people in the course of their investigation. Milanowski said in the past four months, they’ve followed up on around 180 leads.
“We are confident that there are people in the public who have heard something, either before this happened or since it happened, that can help us in our investigation,” Milanowski said.
Fire victims say it’s been hard waiting for the information that was released Friday.
“Some old thoughts have resurfaced, and now I’m kind of back in that night and just how everything happened,” said Branson Fairbrother, who lived at Iconic Village.
Fairbrother says he’s hopeful that the large reward will help lead investigators to the suspect(s).
“The families deserve an answer to this, especially now, more than ever.” Fairbrother said. “After this information has come out, the need to know has become even more prominent.”
Investigators say the suspect(s) could face state and federal charges.
“They definitely should face the consequences, because a lot of bad, a lot of evil happened,” said Matthew Smith, another fire victim.