Residential fire reveals criminal activity

A two-alarm house fire in East Montgomery County left a man with superficial burns to his legs and a woman with more problems than her seriously damaged home. What began as a fire in the bedroom of the home on Towerwood Drive evolved into investigations by multiple agencies including not only the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office, but the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit, Montgomery County Auto Theft and Child Protective Services.

Neighbors reported the house fire at 15457 Towerwood Drive off of Firetower Road and firefighters responded to the dispatch at 6:25 a.m. with New Caney Fire Department in the lead and Grangerland Volunteer Fire Department assisting.

The incident was dispatched as a structure fire with victims trapped. When the fire began, two adults, a 5-year-old and a 7-year old, were inside.

Firefighters said they arrived to find heavy fire coming out of the north wall of the home. An aggressive interior attack was made as the first crews on scene searched for victims in the midst of the inferno. All residents were safely out of the house, but the search was extended because one of the adult occupants insisted another resident was still inside. The woman arrived unharmed a few hours later.

Less than 15 minutes later, a second alarm was pulled sending Needham Fire and Rescue, Porter Fire Department, and Bennette and Splendora Volunteer Fire Departments to the scene.

An adult male’s legs were burned, but as medics transported him to the hospital, he decided to decline further treatment, according to Kevin Bates with the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office.

The man spent most of the rest of the day wrapped in a comforter and watching the house from the street with neighbors and friends. The two children were taken to a neighbor’s home and later removed by CPS. As of this writing, no information was available regarding their status.

An alert MCSO deputy checked the serial number on a four-wheel all terrain vehicle on the property, which turned out to be stolen, resulting in Auto Theft’s presence on the scene where they seized the four-wheeler.
Auto Theft Detective Keith Jones said the ATV was reported stolen in mid-December of 2008 from another location in East Montgomery County.

Some MCSO officers were already familiar with the residence. Homeowner Chris Tina Porter, 46, is currently residing in the Montgomery County Jail. She was arrested at the residence on November 13, 2008 on a felony possession of a controlled substance bond forfeiture warrant.

No charges were filed regarding the stolen property, Jones said.

No charges resulted from the SIU investigation either, according to Lt. Philip Cash, who heads up that agency for the Sheriff’s Office.

Bates said the pier and beam construction wood frame house was 30 to 40 percent destroyed by the fire, which was caused by an electric space heater.
It was not only a bad day for the residents, but for a man who chose the wrong time to drive down the dead end street. When he turned around and tried to drive back through the scene, with multiple law enforcement agencies present, a deputy noticed an expired sticker on his vehicle and stopped the man. A check of his driver’s license revealed multiple warrants for his arrest. He and his car were taken from the scene.