Arson Suspected in Boarding House Fire that Left Many Homeless

Fire investigators are looking for an arsonist who set fire to the Savoy Boarding House on Ramirez Tuesday night.

The Corpus Christi Fire Department rescued six people from the roof of the place, and the owner of the building said there could have been at least 20 people inside at the time.

None of those people will be staying there on Wednesday night. In fact, they will probably never be able to call the place home again. The damage was so bad inside that no one could live here.

The Red Cross has paid for hotel rooms for those residents who have nowhere else to go.

One of those residents, Shawn Lawson, was in the lobby of the Super 8 on Navigation on Wednesday. He said he was right there when the fire broke out. He said that everyone was smelling smoke, so he went to check and see if the smoke was coming from a utility closet. When he opened the door, the fire leapt out at him, and that was all it took to have him and everyone else scrambling to get out of the place.

The building quickly filled with smoke, forcing a handful of residents to escape to the roof and wait for firemen to rescue them. Thankfully, no one was injured in the fire, but police believe a woman intentionally set the fire.

"She's, I'm not going to say mentally unstable, but you know, when you start setting things on fire, you get people to wonder," Lawson said. "Especially a building full of people. Innocent people. People who ain't done nothing to you, and you want to burn down the whole building? That doesn't make any sense, you know. Go set yourself on fire, if you want to do something. Don't set nobody else on fire."

"Our investigators have obtained information that leads them to believe that there's one person of interest," CCFD Captain James Brown said,

Alfonso Ramirez owns the Savoy at 1510 Ramirez. He said it sounds like it might end up being too costly to make the repairs to ever reopen the boarding house. He also has heard that it was a woman who set the fire, and that she was upset at another resident there and had threatened to set a fire.

Ramirez is hoping to get enough money together to help the residents buy coats and other items that were lost in the fire.

As far as the arsonist, the fire department expects to make an arrest soon.


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