Friday, August 10, 2012

Week 12... Starsky & Hutch???


This week, I want to share with you a story regarding some of my time spent as an Arson Investigator as a member of the Houston Fire Department.  I jokingly refer in the title to Starsky & Hutch.  The following few stories cover some of the adventures or lack thereof of "Slu & Boom Boom," my Arson partner.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent:  I've always wanted to say that.  Ha!!!

You should know that as Arson Investigators, we were all State Certified Peace Officers and were required to carry a firearm(s), a weapon or two, and obviously had to be proficient in the use of said firearm(s) with annual qualification requirements.  Certainly, at times, dealing with criminals can be a very dangerous job.  Boom Boom and I, through the years, put our fair share of criminals in jail.  There's nothing like the "adrenaline rush" of participating in a "Felony Warrant" raid with your "team."  And if you had obtained the warrant for your "perp," well, you were "first" through the door.  But, if you know me, well, I always liked to have a little fun too.  With that said...

The "Badge"
Occasionally, you will hear on the news a report of "Not so bright" stupid? criminals.  We had ours.  I'm being kind here.  Boom Boom & I were assigned a case to work that involved a house fire that was ruled arson.  There were witnesses.  Our suspect was a young guy in his 20's.  He had a beef with his Dad, a preacher.  Our suspect lived on the South side of Houston.  His Dad lived in a house on the North side of Houston.  Our "not so bright" suspect decided he was going to set his Dad's house on fire.  Now here is the kicker...  On the day of the "crime," our suspect's car was not running.  Well, he was on a "mission," so he got his gas can and he got on a city Metro Bus no he did not! oh yes he did! and made the trip out to the neighborhood where his Dad lived.  He got off the bus, filled his can with gas at a nearby gas station, and walked over to his Dad's house.  Now, you have to understand that it was Saturday you know, when everybody is home.  It was mid-afternoon seriously, like during the day.  Neighbors were out washing their cars, Bar-B-Qing, playing, etc.  They recognized our suspect as being the son of the Preacher Man that lived down the street, and yes, he was carrying a gas can.  Several minutes later, several neighbors saw our suspect running in the opposite direction from his Dad's house.  They also saw smoke and fire coming from the house where our suspects Dad lived.  Really?  After questioning several witnesses and speaking to the Dad, our case was "coming together" pretty quickly.  Our guy left the gas can at the scene.  We turned it over to our lab guy for fingerprints.  We had a case.  We took our information to the Assistant District Attorney's office to file charges of Arson, a 2nd Degree Felony.  We picked up our suspect and brought him in for questioning.  As you might expect, it did not take long to get a confession from him.  As we wrapped up our interview and prepared to take him to jail, he was actually in a good mood maybe mission accomplished?, and he giggled at Boom Boom...  We just looked at each other shaking our heads, smiling ourselves, as we handcuffed him for the ride to jail.  Case closed.

Boom Boom and I were working an arson case that involved talking to several witnesses.  This case was a little more difficult and not coming together so quickly and easily.  One of our witnesses had subsequently been arrested for an unrelated offense and was in the local county jail.  Boom Boom and I paid him a visit.  We were led into a small private room.  In this room, there were a couple of chairs and a large glass wall.  Our witness, would come into an even smaller room where we could see him on the other side of the glass.  There was a little vent in the glass that enabled us to speak to each other.  He entered his area in his orange jumpsuit for us to speak to him.  Boom Boom and I had not talked strategy prior to entering the room.  Shortly after identifying ourselves and explaining why we were there, I just "spur of the moment" went off on this guy.  I read him the "riot act," if you will.  Boom Boom was standing between the prisoner and myself and was taken by surprise at how fierce I was riding this guy.  He turned and looked at me with one of those "What the heck are you doing?" looks.  After I was done with my "spill," our witness, the prisoner, had become somewhat enraged with me and made it very clear that he was not going to say another word as long as I was in the room.  Ha!!!  He said he would talk to Boom Boom, but only after I left.  Boom Boom turned to me and asked me to leave the room.  I "acted" like I was pretty upset with having to leave, but I left the room and sat just outside the door and waited.  Several minutes later, Boom Boom opened the door and said, "What the heck?"  I had to laugh when I said, "Good cop, bad cop!"  The kicker is that Boom Boom got some really good information after I left the room that was helpful in our case.  Boom Boom was just shaking his head.

There were several occasions throughout our time together that Boom Boom and I were assigned a case that would involve knocking on doors in various neighborhoods to ask questions to try and obtain information.  Sometimes, there would be what most people would refer to as a "language barrier."  I tried to not let that stand in my way.  Ha!!!  After all, we had enrolled in a class titled "Spanish for Police."  Not a College Course mind you, more like a few hours during one particular week.  I absolutely came away from our class feeling like I could speak two no, seriously languages.  Having said that, I recall vividly one morning Boom Boom and I driving into an older neighborhood to knock on a few doors.  We were practicing our Spanish more me than him on the way there.  We knocked on our first door and an elderly Hispanic lady opened the door.  I jumped at the chance to greet her and said, "Hola."  I responded to her "Hola" by saying, "Habla ingles?"  She responded, "No hablo ingles, habla espanol?"  Of course, I said, "Poquito."  And that's when Boom Boom just dropped his head (wondering what in the heck am I doing), and that's also when the lady started rattling off a million Spanish words per minute.  She must have confused my "poquito" with "fluent."  Ha!!!  Suffice to say we did not get any information from this very sweet lady, nor anybody else that morning.  Boom Boom just shook his head and reminded me that I "DON'T speak Spanish."  Plan B...

As I stated earlier, you can work in what can be a very serious and sometimes dangerous job, but still have fun and that's just how Boom Boom and I rolled.  Boom Boom had his moments too and I could have some fun here, but I better stop right here and leave it at that.  Starsky & Hutch???  I don't know about that, but we did have fun.  I will say though, he is quite the "disco dancer," my buddy Boom Boom.  Ha!!!   

Photos:  Some pics of mine and Donna's recent trip to Galveston...

A "Boogie" Board-er at the Beach


Galveston's Pleasure Pier

What I would call "The Crazy People"

The "Wheel" lit up...

A night time view of the Pier...
Recipe's:  This week, I want to share with you another one of our household favorites, again from our "go to" site,  This recipe is for Skinny Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy and if you serve these over some awesome mashed potatoes, wow, you will find your smile.    

Libations Anyone???:  For my buddy, Boom Boom...  A "new" Wine Lover, thanks to his recent Fiance' that has converted him.  Among his favorites:  a chilled white wine, perfect for these hot summer evenings, from Messina Hof WineryDon't even ask me how to pronounce this:  Just enjoy some chilled Gewurztraminer

Music:  Boom Boom and his Fiance' love live music.  And there is a local band that plays in their area quite a bit and is well known in Houston.  And they love this band...  Give a listen to the Buck Yeager Band

Market Watch:  This week, Facebook showed some signs of life by gaining one whole point, closing yesterday at 21.04...

The End:  Once again, Thank You so very much for dropping by and spending a few minutes in Slu's World.  I hope you will check back in next week as well.

Be safe, be smart, and always smile...  It's "Happy Friday"



  1. Awesome blog today! Thanks for not including my language with the shake of my head. We did have some fun times. If I remember correctly, I think that young guy got beat up by some of those neighbors while he was running back to catch the bus back home. Plus it was more than a giggle, he was laughing at me. Confessing and laughing all at the same time. Can't say we abused our suspects! Later! Boom Boom.

    1. Ha!!! Yes, we did have fun over the years. Good times for sure...

  2. Very good story, Big Sis.....

  3. Great post, and really, is there a better name than Boom Boom? I think not. I can't imagine, on the serious side, how many awful things you had to see/experience in such a field as arson. Glad you (and your partner) came out safely and are able to find things to smile about. Happy Friday.

    1. thanks... we had good times in a field, as you state, that is often not smile friendly. we were blessed. take care, slu

  4. I was hoping you would write about some of your experiences as a firefighter. I know it is a very dangerous profession. I am so glad you came out safe. I enjoy your stories each week and hope you will continue. They say a good writer, writes about things he knows about or personal experiences. Keep writing.

    1. thanks cuz... always appreciate the kind words. take care.

  5. Love your stories! At least you can say there was never a dull moment in your job. The first story about the preacher's son made me laugh. we have quite a few dummies like that in So. Florida where I live. Whenever the paper prints their story, it falls under the title, "Flori-DUH." Also, I love a German wine---Rieslings and Gewürztraminers are some of my favorites!!! Great post--thanks for sharing!!

    1. and thank you back... i should say i really like yours as well. take care, slu


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