ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Deputies with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office have arrested a suspect in a Huntington-area fire that damaged two homes, Thursday evening.
Tommy James Self, 23, of Huntington, is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on three state-jail felony arson charges. He also was charged with one count of public intoxication. Collectively, his bail amount has been set at $250,000.
According to Captain Alton Lenderman, with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office, Self's motive for setting the fires wasn't fixed on an individual.
"They were like outbuildings, it wasn't a residence, so there was nobody living there," Lenderman said. "He just randomly set them on fire. Probably one contributing factor, I think. The subject was intoxicated."
Angelina County deputies searched, cuffed, and placed Self in the back of a patrol car. But, his crimes didn't end there.
"He had on two sets of clothing," Lenderman said. "And, down in his second set of clothing, he had a lighter. And, even though he was cuffed, he still managed to get that lighter out of his pocket. Then he attempted to burn the seat belt in the patrol unit."
According to a post on Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches' Facebook page, the ACSO received a call about a fire on FM 326 North near the intersection of Homeplace Road at about 5:45 p.m. Thursday.
"Angelina College Chief of Police Doug Conn observed the fire and a possible suspect walking from the area," the Facebook post from Lt. Ray Stubbs said. "Chief Conn approached the individual, a white male later identified as Tommy James Self, 23 years old of Huntington, who was detained for investigative purposes."
Lenderman said that he usually urges private citizens not to approach suspicious people, but AC's chief of police was an exception.
"He's a police officer, and we're kind of obligated by law to take action, especially if we see a felony in progress," Lenderman said. "What he did was what he was supposed to do."
Sanches' Facebook post added that the State Fire Marshal's Office will help ACSO in investigating further.
No one was injured in the fire, and authorities said Thursday that the two houses were empty.