SHERMAN, TX - Since the 4th of July, the Sherman Fire Department has responded to a number of fires they believe were set intentionally. But last week, an arrest was made for one that charred dozens of acres.
Several fires burned simultaneously early the morning of August 30th. One of them in particular was just west of Dean Gilbert Lake. Last week, the Sherman Police Department arrested the man they believe started that fire.
Justin Michael Mason was arrested Thursday for setting a fire the morning of August 31st. Sergeant Bruce Dawsey with the Sherman Police Department said a prior arrest helped authorities begin building the case against him. "He was initially arrested for a non-related traffic offense the night of the fire and then evidence recovered from that arrest has led to an arrest warrant for the suspicious fire at Dean Gilbert Lake."
"Really caused some problems for us and many of the local fire departments," said Sherman Fire Chief Jeff Jones. Jones said they put out several intentional fires over the summer, and he hopes this arrest is the first step in closing those cases. "We gathered evidence and material relative to those fires so perhaps that too will come to an end."
Dawsey said, "the fire department is very good at what they do and they worked very well with our detectives."
Within one hour eight fires were started in the same general area, between Knollwood and Lamberth around Highway 82. Jones said. "we believe that some of those fires were set by the same person. Many of those fires were set at the same time in a similar geographic area."
Dawsey said, "the other fires that are outside of the city are currently still under investigation. We are dealing strictly with this August 30th fire near Dean Gilbert Lake."
Arson is a felony, and Mason could be facing jail time and fines if he's convicted. Dawsey said, "the case is pending prosecution right now with the district attorney's office."
Sergeant Dawsey said the case against Justin Mason for the fire west of Dean Gilbert Lake is officially closed. He was released Friday from Grayson County Jail on $15,000 bond.