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Two men accused of setting fire to popular flea market

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Firefighters are busy trying to contain a massive fire in east Houston Friday morning.

Firefighters are busy trying to contain a massive fire in east Houston Friday morning.

The Harris County fire marshal's office says two young men have confessed to setting a flea market fire in Channelview.

The fire ripped through the White Elephant Flea Market almost two weeks ago. Many of the 100 vendors who keep booths at the flea market lost everything.

"A tip from one of the witnesses and video from a nearby store helped investigators identify two juvenile suspects who confessed to breaking into the flea market and setting the fires," said Lt. Dean Hensley with the Harris Co. Fire Marshal's Office.

Both teens were arrested on Wednesday, and they confessed to breaking into the flea market to steal stuff from the various vendors. They say they set the fire to help them see what they were doing and to help cover their thefts, but it quickly got out of control.

A third suspect -- who's an adult -- had nothing to do with the fire, but instead will be charged with receiving stolen property. He's apparently related to one of the teens, and he knew the items were stolen.

Authorities say they are still in the process of arresting and charging an adult they say was also involved in the fire.

Investigators estimate the fire caused $750,000 worth of damage. No one was injured.

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