Recently, one or more arsonists have targeted Kingwood Parks and greenbelts. Within the last week, more than four acres of the Creekwood Nature Area have been burned. More than a dozen benches, picnic tables, boardwalks, trails and observation decks in East End Park have been destroyed or damaged. Additionally, deliberately set fires have been reported at River Grove Park, on several greenbelts, and in a Kingwood elementary school. Most of the fires are happening between the time school lets out and dusk. This leads authorities to believe that the perpetrator(s) are in middle or high school.
In response to this rash of fires, KSA has formed an Arson Committee that is:
- Offering a reward of up to $1200 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist(s).
- Contacting community and trail associations plus homeowners bordering the parks, enlisting their support in spotting and reporting fires.
- Encouraging the Humble ISD to inform kids about how quickly fire can spread out of control and to enlist students' support in apprehending the criminals.
- Working with HFD to streamline procedures for responding to fires in parks/greenbelts and speed up response times.
- Working with HPD to apprehend the criminal(s) by increasing patrols in our parks and on our greenbelts.
- Deploying private security guards in plain clothes to patrol the parks.
The Committee has already met with HPD's Kingwood Tactical Unit and HFD's Arson Unit.
Parents need to understand that kids setting these fires could be charged with anything from criminal mischief up to arson. Depending on how far the fire spreads, the penalties could be severe. The penalties for arson are comparable to those for murder. If a church, home, or school is involved, or if someone is injured in the fire (i.e., a fireman is burned trying to suppress the fire), the penalty could be up to 99 years in prison. The statute of limitations for arson is 10 years. Thus, a juvenile perpetrator might be tried as an adult by the time the case goes to trial.
Under Texas law, several incidents can be aggregated and tried as a single charge resulting in stiffer sentencing.
Parents also need to understand that due to drought and all the tinder left behind by Hurricane Ike, we have the perfect conditions for fire to get out of control quickly.
- Understand that most of Texas is currently under a burn ban and tell their kids what that means – NO fires of ANY kind.
- Monitor their kids' after school activities.
- Talk with their kids about the dangers of fire.
- Let kids know that their own homes are at risk.
- Encourage their kids to come forward if they know the person or people setting these fires.
Anyone seeing an active fire anywhere in our parks or trail system should call 911 immediately. Be prepared to give the operator the street address of the park. Also tell the operator that the fire is "in the woods." This will help HPD dispatch the appropriate equipment to the fire.
East End Park
6400 Kingwood Drive.
River Grove Park
800 Woodland Hills Drive.
Creekwood Nature Area
3300 Maple Park Drive.
North Park Recreation Area
4302 Woodland Hills Drive.
Deer Ridge Park
2001 Hundred Oak Circle.
For fires spotted on greenbelts, give the operator the nearest street intersection. Again, say "It's in the woods." Someone who spots a fire in the woods should wait by the park or greenbelt entrance and guide the fire department to it.
Anyone with information about the arsonist(s), should contact:
Houston Police Department Non-Emergency Number
Houston Fire Department Non-Emergency Number
Kingwood Service Association
1102 Kingwood Drive
Kingwood, Texas 77339
281-358-5192 - Phone
281-359-8067 - Fax