Temple Man Accused of Purposefully Setting Fire that Gutted Home at Bird Creek Mobile Home Park
Last Monday, June 8, I told you about a fire at Bird Creek Mobile Home Park in Temple. At the time, I was relieved to hear that everyone made it out safely, including a dog who was rescued from the home.
Today, I'm saddened to hear that fire marshals believe the fire was set intentionally.
Temple Fire & Rescue issued an update this morning, writing that fire marshals working with the department and Temple police served an arrest warrant to 58-year-old Michael Aaron Schneider without incident on Friday, June 12.
Investigators did not release details about the case, but Bell County Jail records indicate Schneider has been charged with second degree felony arson of a habitation. He was booked into the jail at 2 PM Friday, and remained there late Monday morning in lieu of $200,000 bond.
Granted, everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence until convicted, but I can't help but be angry about this.
First, people could have been seriously hurt. I grew up in a small mobile home park and remember how closely units are packed in together. Fires can spread so quickly in such a place, especially in dry summer conditions. The fire was reported shortly before 5:30 AM, so most of his neighbors were probably still asleep. They'd have little, if any, warning.
Second, if the fire was set on purpose, why didn't he at least have the decency to get his dog out? That poor animal. I hate to think of what may have happened, and doubtless the dog was terrified, especially while breathing in all that smoke.
Fire marshals ask that anyone with information about fire cases call their anonymous tip line at (254) 298-5955.