Lufkin fire officials hope couch fire won't lead to something bigger

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Authorities are trying to find the person responsible for setting a Lufkin woman's couch on fire and then targeting a nearby dumpster. They call this a "malicious crime" and fear this could lead to a crime far more serious.

"I just happen to wake up and see this big orange glow at the window," said Natalie Cole, found her couch set-on fire.

Natalie Cole said it was eerie waking-up to a burning couch in her front yard. The flames, only feet from her bedroom window.

"It's the visual of seeing that much fire coming up into the trees, thinking, okay, if my house catches on fire where am I going to live?" said Cole.

Melted wire springs and a charred frame is all that's left of the couch she had tossed out for pick-up.

"The whole time I'm trying to figure out who would set my things on fire? Why would someone do this when it could have got to my house and my children are inside sleeping?" sh e said.

Lufkin Assistant Fire Marshall Steve McCool is trying to figure that out. He said what's even stranger-- a few hours later someone set a dumpster on fire just six blocks from Cole's home.

"When they start a fire of this magnitude, although it seems simple and small and simply a couch fire or dumpster fire, that's a sign," said McCool. "They generally escalate and get bolder and move onto other things."

He believes the two arson cases are connected. He said whoever is behind this, needs some serious help.

"They have an issue that needs to be addressed and whether the issue is treatment or whether it's a felony charge, something needs to be done to prevent it from occurring in the future," said McCool.

As for Cole, she's considering moving out of her home.

"Whoever it is, it's not funny, it's not a joke," she said. "This is where people live and where people's children have to sleep."

In the meantime, authorities are vigilant, in case the problem gets out of control. McCool said the department will review surveillance video from the dumpster fire next week. If you have any information regarding these cases, please call authorities.

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