Beaumont residents concerned about multiple railroad tie fires

Around the clock security has been hired to keep watch at the railroad tracks near MLK Jr. Parkway near Fannin St. in Beaumont after an arsonist has been setting railroad ties on fire.

Around the clock security has been hired to keep watch at the railroad tracks near MLK Jr. Parkway near Fannin St. in Beaumont after an arsonist has been setting railroad ties on fire.

The Beaumont Fire Department said an arsonist has set three fires to railroad ties this year. The most recent fire happened at 2:37 a.m. at Orange Avenue and Forsythe Street by the railroad tracks.

Santos Hernandez lives in downtown Beaumont, he said the fire was about 60 feet from his backyard. He explains he is afraid for his family's safety. 

"You go to sleep not knowing if you are going to wake up smoke, sirens or a fire," said Hernandez.

He explains he is especially worried about his mother who is suffering from several health problems including breathing issues. He believes the source of the problem is the pile of railroad ties which has accumulated by the railroad tracks over the past two years.

"It’s very fearful to have this back here and not only this but the arsonist still at large," said Hernandez.

On March 2 another fire took place near Avenue A and Fannin Street. The blaze led to over 1000 people losing power.


"I don't want to die in a fire, I don't want my mother to die in a fire or my neighbors to die in a fire or by smoke inhalation," said Hernandez.

Beaumont firefighters said they believe the arson suspect is homeless but have not made any arrests.

To help with safety, the Kansas City Southern Railway Company has hired 24 hour security by the railway ties. However, Hernandez said the situation could be fixed faster by removing the ties.

"Arsonists don’t stop till they are caught or they can clean this up, not giving him an opportunity to catch this on fire," said Hernandez.

Captain Jimmy Blanchard said the arson is still under investigation. Beaumont firefighters believe the suspect is no longer in the area.

The Kansas City Southern Railway Company said the company is working on removing the railroad ties from MLK Jr. Parkway near Fannin Street and Avenue A. They also plan on removing the other ties from Forsythe and Orange Avenue.

The company has also hired Beaumont Police officers to help with security by the railroad tracks.


 

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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