Lockhart man arrested for arson, fraud

By Kathi Bliss
Editor/POST-REGISTER

A Lockhart man was arrested on Tuesday after a four-month investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office and local law enforcement agencies determined he may have been responsible for a New Year’s Day fire that left one firefighter injured.

Jason C. Doyle, 36, was arrested and charged with Arson and Insurance Fraud after the investigation revealed the fire at his home in the 400 block of Summerside Ave. in Lockhart appeared to have been set intentionally.

Under normal circumstances, a fire of this nature within the Lockhart city limits would be investigated by the Lockhart Fire Department and the Lockhart fire marshal. However, because Doyle’s father is the chief of the Lockhart Fire Department, the State Fire Marshal stepped in, sources said at the time of the fire.

Lockhart City Manager Vance Rodgers said in a written statement on Tuesday that an internal administrative investigation of the Lockhart Fire Department’s response to and handling of the fire has been suspended and will be delayed until the criminal investigations are complete.

Rodgers said his office would offer no
other comment on the situation pending the outcome of all investigations.

The Summerside Avenue fire was reported at around 8 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2009, and fire departments from Lockhart and the Southeast Travis County Fire Department. One firefighter from Travis County sustained a head injury during at the scene while doing suppression operations, according to a statement from Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Paul Cowan.

Five days later, another fire destroyed the home where the younger Doyle and his family were living while the Summerside fire was being investigated. That fire, while also subject of a State Fire Marshal’s investigation, is not being considered in the charges pending against Doyle at this time.

The suspect is being held in the Caldwell County Jail. His bond has been set at $100,000. The investigation is ongoing.
kathibliss@post-register.com

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