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1 person in custody after 3 firefighters injured, 2 businesses damaged in Longview fire

William Coyle Jr. (Source: Greg County Jail website)
William Coyle Jr. (Source: Greg County Jail website)(Gregg County Jail website)
Published: Aug. 7, 2021 at 10:49 AM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Three East Texas firefighters were injured after a Saturday morning three-alarm fire gutted a strip mall. Longview fire officials have arrested a suspect in connection with the fire.

The Longview fire marshal said crews responded here at businesses located on the corner of High Street and Methvin Street around 3:50 a.m. Saturday.

When fire units arrived at the High Street strip mall parking lot, the south end of the structure was a roaring blaze.

“Fire alarm system came in from a music store. Crews got here and they did find heavy fire conditions coming from the paint store itself. The majority of the damage was to the paint store,” said Longview Fire Marshal Kevin May.

And the paint was providing more fuel for an already dangerous fire.

“That within itself contributed to the fire load, and the intensity of the fire because everything in here was flammable and combustible,” May said.

The roof began to collapse as two businesses, including Tatum Music, were heavily damaged due to the fire.

While firefighters were battling the blaze, a concrete awning collapsed on top of them.

As they scrambled to get out of the way, three firefighters were caught underneath the falling debris.

“Two of them were taken to the emergency room to be evaluated for their injuries, and the thirrd one was treated and released here on the scene of the fire,” the fire marshal said.

There was more.

At 3:50 in the morning, no one was at any of the businesses, but one person has been detained regarding the fire.

“We have been able to detain one suspect. Investigators are questioning him to his potential involvement in the fire,” May said.

The suspect has been identified as William Coyle Jr., a 41-year-old transient from Longview. He is still being held in the Gregg County jail on a felony arson causing bodily injury or death charge. His bond amount was set at $100,000.

The origin of the fire is unknown at this time.

Source: KLTV Staff
Source: KLTV Staff(KLTV Staff)

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