December 11, 2023


General Inside You

Arson suspected in large fireplace at Texas courthouse

MASON, Texas (AP) — A suspect has been arrested been taken into custody pursuing a large hearth that wrecked all but the rock outer walls of an 111-calendar year-old Texas courthouse, an formal states.

The hearth at the Mason County Courthouse in Mason, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Austin, commenced Thursday evening. No 1 was in the constructing. Mason County Judge Jerry Bearden claimed the flames could be found from miles away.

“Right now, it truly is just a shell,” he told television station KXAN. “It just breaks your heart to glimpse at it.”

He advised The Affiliated Press on Friday that fire investigators suspect arson in each the courthouse fireplace and a different blaze around the very same time at a home about a mile away.

The Texas State Hearth Marshal’s Office environment stated in a assertion that it has joined regulation enforcement companies investigating the hearth, but a spokesperson would present no information on the investigation Friday. The county sheriff has not returned a message from the AP.

The courthouse, made from neighborhood sandstone, was being ready for renovations, so all of the county documents experienced been moved out, Bearden said. He mentioned only some furnishings were in the making.

He explained the firefighters “did their best” but “there wasn’t everything they could seriously do to maintain the flames down.”

Bearden reported the courthouse’s bell tower, which featured a clock, was destroyed.

“It’s just a awful tragedy for the people in this article in the county,” Bearden said. “This is the focal point in our neighborhood, our county.”

Bearden mentioned officers will have an engineer look at the outer partitions in hopes of finally rebuilding the “grand outdated lady.”

Mason County has a population of about 4,300.