SAN MARCOS, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - San Marcos officials announced Friday an increased reward amount of $110,000 for anyone with information that can lead to an arrest in the tragic Iconic Village fire that killed five people and injured several others.
It's news David Angel Ortiz's mother was happy to hear from East Texas.
"We needed to offer a larger amount so that it would be more motivating for the person who knows what happen to come forward and tell us and not be afraid," Gina Ortiz said
David Ortiz, 21, was a junior at Texas State studying exercise sports science to be a coach. In July 2018 his life was cut short. Ortiz was asleep when a fire tore through his apartment complex. Ortiz's mother was told by a surviving victim he woke up and tried to escape with his friends but never made it out.
"You learn to continue because you have to continue but there will always be a hole that will always be missing from our lives," said Gina Ortiz.
The fire claimed the lives of four others, Belinda Moats, 21; Haley Michele Frizzell,19; Dru Estes, 20; and James Miranda, 23. Months later, investigators learned the fire was no accident, it was intentionally set.
"Knowing that somebody set this fire on purpose and it was such a large dramatic fire and did so much damage not only to property but to lives,” Gina Ortiz said. "Even for those who were not physically hurt, but they were just going door to door waking up their neighbors. The trauma that they lived through, I find it really hard to believe that someone would do something like that it's really hard to accept."
Investigators know how and when the fire was started but at this time they have no suspects. The original reward offered was $10,000. Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner said it brought in some tips but the department needs more. The city, businesses and families of the victims raised the amount to $110,000 in hopes someone might come forward.
"So with Dru, Melinda, Hailey, David, James and Zach and all the others who were injured along with their families and this community will see this through the end," Kistner said.
Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call 888-ATF-TIPS.