SHERMAN, TX - Firefighters in the Sherman area have been overwhelmed with hundreds of grass fire calls in the past month. A record number of those have been arsons. Fire Chief Jeff Jones says they have identified persons of interest, but building a case will take some time.
"We're all frustrated," said Jones, "and we're all anxious to put an end to the fires."
There have been 87 arsons in the Sherman area since July fourth, and Jones says they are much more difficult to battle than the average wildfire.
"We're racing to protect property," Jones said, "and as we do that and you get a good containment on the first fire, you look up and there's three or four others set.
The Sherman fire department responds to at least a couple of arsons each year, but Jones says the number of intentionally set fires this year has become "ridiculous." So now they're having to ramp up their efforts to solve these crimes.
"When a fire comes in we're actually putting a containment on that area so that hopefully we can identify if the fire was intentionally set," said Jones, and perhaps identify witnesses or people of interest that may be involved in that fire."
With the help of the Sherman police, the sheriff's office, and DPS, Jones says they have been able to identify several potential suspects. However, proving arson is extremely difficult, but Jones says they've got to end this spree before someone gets killed.
"With the number of fires and the types of fires its just a matter of time before somebody is seriously injured or killed as a result of these intentionally set fires."
Jones urges everyone to be extremely aware of their surroundings during this trying time, and if you see anything suspicious or have any information about these fires, your asked to call the arson hotline at 903-357-3473.