Arson suspected in 4 fires that broke out in less than an hour

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Arson is suspected in a number of fires that broke out off Riverside Drive Wednesday morning, including one that forced three people to flee their burning duplex.

The Austin Fire Department says it responded to four fires within half a mile of each other in about 30 to 40 minutes Wednesday. In fact, Firefighters discovered one of the fires about 3:30 a.m. at 2001 Kirksey Dr. as they were driving home from a previous fire.

Ted Jose and his wife have owned their house on Kirksey Drive for nearly 10 years. Their daughter Chelsea, who lived here while she attended school at the University of Texas, was not home when a fire started there Wednesday.

However, three people living in the other half of the duplex were home.

“You build things, you protect things as much as you can and then some looney comes around and takes it…just like that,” Jose said. “I thank God for sparing her for the heartache and the experience of being in a fire.”

Fire investigators now say the person who started this fire did it on purpose. The fire department is also investigating three other fires in the same area that started less than an hour after the first one; all set by a suspected arsonist.

“What they did was take the recycling bin, put it in front of the door and lit a fire on it,” Jose said. The fire caused damage throughout the entire house. No one was hurt in the fires.

“He must be caught because he’s a sick person…very sick,” he added.

If you have any information contact the Austin Fire Department. Investigators are not sure if one person caused the fire or if they are dealing with multiple suspects. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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