Neighbors don't doubt arsonist is behind Donna double house fire

Residents on Grande St. are not surprised that an arsonist might be behind the two fires started there early Friday morning.

The fire destroyed an abandoned home and mobile home that were located in the same lot.

"We knew that this could happen, Nayely Castro said. I mean it TMs very dry, we haven't had rain and everything is very old there.

Nayely Castro has lived on Grande St. in Donna for over 20 years.

Over the years, she says she's watched the abandoned home next door to her slowly deteriorate.

Tarantulas come from over there, spiders, bunch of animals come from over there and now with this incident that happened my parents are more worried that they want it cleaned up, Castro said.

Friday morning at around 12:30 a.m., the home next to Castro TMs parents was intentionally set on fire.

Their neighbor and Castro TMs friend immediately called her.

Tell your mom to get out of the house, the fire is going that way," Castro said.

Donna fire chief David Simmons tells Action 4 News it took around three hours to control the fire.

Fire fighters diligently to make sure the flames did not spread to nearby homes.

"The house was the largest, it was a very large one story house but it was a long house, Simmons said. Flames were reaching 30 to 40 feet because it was so big and we did have the breeze come in so that also fanned it.

Once the scene was cleared and the firefighters were cleaning up back at the station, a second call came in at around 4 a.m.

A mobile home on the same lot was on fire.

Right now, arson is suspected in both cases.

Castro as well as neighbors tell Action 4 News that they are sure the house was set on fire.

"I mean it had to be intentional because it TMs been abandoned for 18 years and never had nothing like this happen, Castro said. There is no electricity, there is no gas, gasoline, it was intentional."

Castro said that this could have been avoided since for years her family has tried to get county to demolish the home.

This place has been abandoned for about 17 or 18 years, never has it been cleaned, Castro said. We have complained to county for the past five to six years, never have they came over and cleaned."

Castro mentioned that her parents are even willing to buy this vacant lot if county won't do anything about it.

Action 4 News contacted Hidalgo County officials to find out why they didn TMt step in before when the complains were coming in.

The county sent out the statement below:

The county is prohibited by state law from going on to private property and demolishing a home or structure that may be deemed a hazard or danger to the public. However, we are working to establish a nuisance abatement order that will allow us to be able to do so in the future. The county has been working on this with the affected agencies and departments for about six months. A draft of the proposed order is currently under review. The affected departments are the Environmental Compliance Division, Health and Human Services, the Justices of the Peace, the Constables and District Attorney TMs office.