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Garland, Texas News

Tenant Sentenced to 18 Years for Arson in Garland House Explosion

Biruk Kassahun

In Garland, a 27-year-old man, Biruk Kassahun, was found guilty of arson after a trial on May 10, 2024. The court sentenced him to 18 years in prison with a Deadly Weapon Finding, along with a $10,000 fine.

The incident occurred when Kassahun, a tenant in a house in Garland, was asked to leave by his roommates and the homeowner for unspecified reasons. His belongings were placed on the curb, and after they were taken, Kassahun called the police. The police advised the homeowner, Abe Suarez, to formally evict Kassahun, allowing him back into the house.

The following night, Kassahun was heard digging through the walls, and there were reports of a gas smell by one of the roommates, Steve Polk. The next morning, Kassahun demanded his property and rent money from Suarez, who refused. Shortly after, witnesses saw Kassahun outside the house, holding a piece of paper and possibly a lighter. Moments later, the house exploded and caught fire, causing significant damage.

The investigation revealed a cut natural gas line in Kassahun's room, leading to suspicions of deliberate sabotage. Fortunately, although the explosion caused the house to shift off its foundation, only one occupant, Alex Jones, was trapped and had to escape through a window by punching it out.

With the evidence presented, the court found Kassahun guilty of arson, resulting in his significant prison sentence and fine.

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