Marshall Cole Ghilespi, left, and Nathan Gerald Schwartz have been charged with arson in connection to Monday’s fires near Godley and Joshua.
Marshall Cole Ghilespi, left, and Nathan Gerald Schwartz have been charged with arson in connection to Monday's fires near Godley and Joshua.
Marshall Cole Ghilespi, 20, and Nathan Gerald Schwartz, 19, have been charged with arson in connection to fires Johnson County Sheriff's Office investigators believe were intentionally set Monday.

Ghilespi and Schwartz are believed to have started between 4-6 fires, according to a sheriff's office report.

At about 2:30 a.m. Monday, the sheriff's office was alerted to fires on vacant property in the area of County Road 915 and County Road 913-A, an area between Godley and Joshua. All of the fires were set less than a mile apart, investigator Steve Shaw said, and in turn may have sparked other grass fires.

Witnesses observed two male subjects in the area. A description of the suspects' vehicle was obtained through witnesses at the time of the fire and through further witnesses who came forward after media reports.

According to witnesses, one suspect had appeared to be in firefighter bunker gear. When Ghilespi and Schwartz were arrested, one of them was wearing the same clothing witnesses described a suspect to be wearing on the night of the offense, according to a sheriff's office report.

The location of the fires was almost identical to fires that burned last summer, also believed to have been intentionally set. One of those fires is believed to be the largest fire that has been battled in the history of the Joshua Fire Department.

Advertisement



One arrest was made in last summer's fires, and it wasn't clear if Monday's fires were connected.

"The only similarity appears to be that fires were started with the wind at their back and homes in front of them," Shaw said.

Monday's fires were extinguished by the Cresson and Godley Fire Departments. There were no reported injuries or structure damage.

Sheriff Bob Alford has offered his appreciation to witnesses who provided information leading to the arrests and for "bringing these incidents to a quick resolution." It could have escalated into a "very dangerous situation had these suspects not been arrested," according to a statement he made in the sheriff's office report.

Ghilespi and Schwartz are being held in the Johnson County jail on $25,000 bond.

The fire danger in Johnson County is moderate, according to a map released Sunday by the Texas Forest Service, and drought conditions are abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Considering dry weather and low humidity prior to recent rains, Alford has encouraged residents to use extreme caution with open outdoor flames or with anything that could create a spark.