Historic Texas Courthouse Destroyed by Fire, Suspect in Custody
Mason, Texas is a town of about 2,200 residents in the Texas Hill Country. It is located about 100 west of Austin.
Some quick facts about Mason:
- The area around Mason is a great place for hunting deer.
- It seems every year the high school football team is making a deep run in the UIL playoffs.
- The largest gem quality topaz found in North America came from Mason County.
- The man who authored the classic 'Old Yeller', Fred Gipson, is a Mason native
Another source of pride for the area is the Mason County Courthouse. It has been a part of the community for 111 years and in 1974 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Over the past months, a renovation of the courthouse sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission has been taking place. Last night (2/4), however, the historic structure was destroyed by fire.
According to reports, a fire was reported Thursday night at a structure a few blocks away from the courthouse. The dispatcher was on the phone taking the information for that fire when it was noticed that fire was also coming from the 2nd floor of the courthouse.
Numerous fire departments were on scene to fight the fire, but the courthouse was totally engulfed and destroyed.
According to a source, arson is suspected in both fires and a suspect is in custody. It's reported that the suspect led police on a chase Friday afternoon and was apprehended in the Waco area. At the time of his arrest, the suspect allegedly was driving a pick up that he stole from an area volunteer firefighter.