Authorities outline Port Arthur arsons investigation; arrest made and more charges coming

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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A 48-year-old man recently arrested in connection with an intentionally set fire at a Port Arthur apartment complex is going to face additional charges for other fires, authorities said.

Gerardo Alaffa, whose last known address was in Port Neches, was arrested Thursday for an arson warrant by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Warrant Division. Bond was set at $30,000, and he bonded out Sunday, Sheriff’s Office Captain Crystal Holmes said.

Authorities believe Alaffa is responsible for a Jan 10 fire in a vacant Avery Trace Apartments unit, 4020 FM 365 in Port Arthur.

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While the main unit was vacant, the fire also impacted the unit directly above it. The occupants of the upstairs unit were not at home at the time of the fire, according to Port Arthur Fire Marshal Paul Washburn.

The fire also caused some smoke damage to surrounding units, and power to the entire building had to be shut off.

Approximately an hour later, Port Arthur firefighters were called to HEB, 4800 FM 365 after wooden pallets were set ablaze. The fire was near the back of the store.

Approximately five minutes later, they learned of another fire around the corner at Pizza Hut in the 4700 block of FM 365. The fire was near a dumpster and inside the dumpster, according to previous reports.

Washburn said the department is filing additional charges individually for the fires.

Washburn said he would like to thank the community for their cooperation in helping authorities make an arrest.

According to information from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Alaffa has previous brushes with law enforcement, including a June 4, 2023, arrest for DWI-2nd by the Port Neches Police Department.

Alaffa took part in the necessary probation and fees and was cleared Jan. 9.