Fire leads to total loss for family, arson investigation underway

Fire leads to total loss for family, arson investigation underway
Robert Rivera Jr. (Source: Howard County Sheriff's Office)
Robert Rivera Jr. (Source: Howard County Sheriff's Office)

KNOTT, TEXAS (KWES) - A house fire on Friday morning led to a total loss for a family in Knott, Texas. Putting out the fire took all Friday morning and a joint effort between multiple fire departments throughout the area.

"There wasn't any way to save anything. All we try to do is protect other structures around the house," said Chief Tommy Sullivan of the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department.

Deputies suspected the fire may have been set intentionally to cover up a burglary of the home.

Fire crews arrived at 12000 County Road 9 around 12:20 a.m. and fought the blaze for hours and it wasn't put out completely until 9 a.m.

"We hauled in and put 32,000 gallons of water on it to extinguish it," said Sullivan.

While fire crews were fighting the blaze they noticed something wasn't right as there were signs of a break-in.

"There was signs of broken glass and some blood around," said Sullivan.

The sheriff's office began investigating and arrested Robert Rivera Jr, 44, at 8:30 a.m. in Forsan, before the fire was put out. Deputies recovered several items taken during the burglary.

Rivera was charged with burglary of a habitation and arson, both first degree felonies.

The Howard County Sheriff's Office and Fire Marshal's Office have taken over the investigation.

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