Third Texas Teen Firefighter Arrested for Arson

The three also responded to help fight the house fire.


Jan. 28--RIO HONDO -- A third teenage volunteer firefighter was arraigned Monday on an arson charge in connection with a fire at an unoccupied house.

Richard Guajardo, 18, was arrested about 10:30 a.m. Monday at Rio Hondo High School, where he is a student, officials said.

Guajardo was arrested by the Cameron County Fire Marshals office and Precinct 3 constables.

Two other teens, Daniel Davis, 17, and Alexander Benavidez, 18, also volunteer firefighters, were arrested Jan. 23 in connection with the Jan. 22 fire at an unoccupied house on Brown Tract Road, which officials said was deliberately set ablaze.

Officials said all three responded to fight the blaze.

The Jan. 22 fire is the latest in a series of fires that are under investigation, and officials expect more arrests to be made.

"Right now we are looking at anywhere between eight and 10 fires, and we are still trying to link up some other fires," Cameron County Emergency Management Coordinator Humberto Barrera said. "That we know of, it's gone back two or three months, all in or around the Rio Hondo area."

Barrera added that the State Fire Marshals office is also building a case based on the investigation.

"Unfortunately for them, they are already adults. It's really important for parents to emphasize to their kids that when you are 17 years old, you are old enough to go to the county jail," Barrera said.

"These gentlemen are all under 20 years old and they are making those mistakes out there, but those mistakes are costing the taxpayers a lot of money and the are costing somebody property damage."

Guajardo was arraigned by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Manuel Flores, who set bond at $15,000 on an arson charge.

Guajardo is being held at Carrizales Rucker Detention Center.

jmendoza@valleystar.com

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