Arson suspect being held on $152,500 bond
A suspect remains behind bars in the Gillespie County Jail after he allegedly set three separate fires on Wednesday, March 14.
Miles B. Branch VI, 37, of Fredericksburg, was taken into custody and is being held on charges of evading arrest and/or detention, possession of drug paraphernalia, arson to a habitation, burglary of a habitation, and arson, Gillespie County Sheriff Buddy Mills said.
Branch’s bond has been set at $152,500.
The Fredericksburg Fire Department received a call about an RV fire at 10:51 a.m. on Balcones Drive.
A short time later, at 11:06 a.m., authorities received a second call for a home that was engulfed in flames on Northwest Drive.
A third fire was started in a grassy area about a quarter of a mile from Balcones Drive.
Local law enforcement had also received a call at 10:20 a.m. about a suspicious person on Northwest Drive walking up to a home.
The RV on Balcones Drive and the home on Northwest Drive were both deemed total losses. Area fire departments that responded to the calls were Willow City, Stonewall, Harper, Tierra Linda, Doss, Loyal Valley and Johnson City.
Sheriff’s officers responded and searched the area but were unable to locate the subject. Additional firefighters and law enforcement agencies responded to the scene and it was determined the suspicious subject was seen at both locations.
More officers from every agency and department within Gillespie County, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Texas Forest Service assisted in searching for the suspect.
With help from City of Fredericksburg personnel, law enforcement launched a drone to try to locate the suspect and any other fires. Texas Department of Public Safety air support arrived a short time later from Austin in a helicopter to aid in the search.
Branch was located in a pasture north of the fires and evaded authorities on foot. He was located and arrested at 2:22 p.m., Mills said.
Authorities will continue to investigate the case.