SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A Mineola man turned himself in to Smith County authorities on Jan. 22 in connection with allegations that a trash fire he started near his aunt’s house spread to her home and destroyed it on Dec.20.
Stephen James Nelson, 34, of Mineola, is still being held in the Smith County jail on a state-jail felony arson charge. His bond amount has been set at $25,000.
Smith County Fire Marshal Jay Brooks said that Nelson called authorities and admitted to setting the trash fire. However, Nelson also allegedly said that he never intended for the fire to his aunt’s house in the Enchanted Lakes subdivision.
Brooks said the charge is a state-jail felony because Nelson recklessly left the trash fire to burn, and as a result, it spread to the side of his aunt’s house, which was a total loss.
The Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office is still investigating the fire to see if Nelson started it in hopes of setting the nearby house on fire, Brooks said.
Brooks declined to comment when asked about what the motive might have been because it is still an open case.