Family-owned business in north Houston demolished after fire, investigators suspect possible arson

A family-owned business in north Houston is now trying to pick up the pieces after a fire destroyed their building. Investigators suspect it may have been arson. 

It happened at Martin’s Lumber & Roofing Supply on Jensen and Melbourne Street around 5 a.m. Tuesday. 

BACKGROUND: Fire at hardware and lumber store on Jensen Drive in north Houston

Christina Franco is one of the owners of the family-owned business. 

"I’m kind of numb and in disbelief of what’s happened. By the time we got here, it was already up in flames," Franco said. 

Franco said the building has now been declared a total loss and crews are in the process of demolishing it. 

"My husband and I and my brother-in-law, we bought this back in 2007. Our kids were still in school. We had seven locations, and this was one of them. The saddest part of all this was that I had pictures of the previous owner in there," Franco said. 


More than 80 firefighters responded to the multiple alarm fire and spent several hours getting it under control, according to HFD. 

Franco tells FOX 26 a family member saw video from a neighbor that shows a man breaking a window, then throwing an object inside the business before the fire began. 

Investigators are currently in the process of gathering surveillance video. 

The official cause remains under investigation, but authorities suspect it was arson. 

"We’ve gotten word that it may have been a disgruntled employee," Franco said. 


Franco said her family did not have insurance and are hoping the community can help them pick up the pieces. 

"If anybody would like to help, I don’t care if you can go and buy trash bags or whatever, just help us keep our business going to support us, because it’s going to be a long journey," Franco said. 

"Everybody, come out and help us out, support us, whatever you can do. Come by and help us out or come support us at our other store, so we can rebuild this store," said Albert Franco, one of the co-owners.