The City of Manvel Fire Marshal discussed some of the details of the ongoing arson investigation into the larges piles of trees that were intentionally set on fire December 31st 2019 evening at last night City Council’s meeting. He reported having a few leads that they are looking at but could not provide a timetable for a breakthrough. He claimed that the contractor in charge of clearing the land had a trench burning permit application denied just a few days prior to the fire. It is unclear as to why it was denied but we can assume the trench did not meet criteria.
Trench burning is a safe way to burn wood and vegetation in land clearing operation and produce very little if any flying embers and smoke. If done right, people around it might not realized something is burning. The Bluewater subdivision contractor used that technique to burn most of the trees and few noticed.
Some concerned citizens were allowed to express their view about the situation to City Council and City Manager Kyle Jung during the public comments section. Many more gave their opinion on the Facebook post from City Fire Marshal about the ongoing investigation and he appreciated people sharing their concerns.
As the people who live in the subdivision might know, one pile out of the 7 or 8 others was really closed to the houses and the Fire department concentrated its effort to put out that one first. The other piles were allowed to burn as they were far but were monitored for embers flying at the houses. Until further notice the area is treated is treated as a crime scene and nobody should be able to get close to it unless they have a special permission from the Fire Marshal’s office. Since this is not the first time illegal burning has occurred in that area and has really caught the attention of the City administration, the Fire Marshal office has told City Council that it has the power to fine the responsible party $2,000 per fire and can retroactively do so for the previous fires if the event is finally ruled criminal.
So Rodeo Palms residents, there is some hope that these fires are either done the right way (trench burning) or the pills of trees finally hauled away.