Fire That Damaged Longtime Local Business Was Set To Cover Up Burglary

By: Paul J. Gately Email
By: Paul J. Gately Email

WACO (October 2, 2012)—A fire early Monday morning that damaged a longtime Waco business was intentionally set to cover a burglary, a Waco fire marshal said Tuesday.

The fire marshal said the origin of the fire has not yet been determined because the blaze burned so intensely that an exact starting place hasn't yet been found.

The fire marshal also said it’s unclear just how the fire spread, but said there is no question that the blaze was intentionally set.

Acting Assistant Waco Fire Chief James Monroe said fire damage to the Azbell's Electronics building, in the 1800 block of Speight Avenue, was primarily confined to the rear portion of the building.

The fire caused damage in excess of $100,000, the fire marshal said Tuesday, but an exact cost of the damage has not yet been determined.

The first unit was sent to Azbell's at about 3:30 a.m. Monday and immediately requested more units to respond.

Monroe said the first engine company was able to knock the fire down quickly, but the nature of the older part of the structure required close inspection to ensure the fire was out.

Damage to the storage area was extensive, but was more limited in the newer parts of the building, Monroe said.

No one was injured in the fire and in spite of some damage the building was not destroyed.

Azbell's, founded by Billy Lee Azbell, Sr., has been the electronics and communications business in Central Texas since 1945.

The business has occupied its current location since 1949.

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