Ex-Employee Charged in $18-20 Million Houston Fire

The May 21, 2009, fire destroyed a 100,000-square-foot Gallery Furniture warehouse in Houston and was one of the most costly fires to be investigated by the city's fire department.

The May 21, 2009, four-alarm fire that destroyed a 100,000-square-foot Gallery Furniture warehouse in Houston was set by an employee who had been fired years earlier, investigators from the Houston Fire Department's Fire & Arson Investigation Division and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives alleged on Tuesday.

The Houston Chronicle and the city's television stations reported that Robert Carroll Gillham, 66, who has been charged with first-degree arson, worked for the furniture store from 1989 to 2006, when he was fired.

The fire department said this was one of the highest-dollar-loss fires it has investigated, with an estimated loss of $18 million to $20 million. The Fire & Arson Investigation Division was the lead agency in the investigation, with ATF and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office assisting.

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